[rescue] Perverse Question

Phil Stracchino alaric at caerllewys.net
Thu Jun 19 23:53:50 CDT 2003

On Fri, Jun 20, 2003 at 12:34:11AM -0400, Sheldon T. Hall wrote:
>  Phil Stracchino wrote ...
> > The possibilities for embezzlement inherent in this process seem nothing
> > short of staggering.  Did anyone ever try to exploit this?
> Not to my knowledge, either while I was there or afterward but still
> connected to the bank in one way or another.
> Amazin', innit?

I'm reminded of the case of a guy working for Barclays Bank in the late
60s or early 70s who discovered that when the bank's computers did
account interest calculations, they rounded the interest down to the
nearest half-penny and discarded the remainder back to the bank.  He
modified the code to deposit all the remainders into a private account
instead, which he'd then transfer the balance out of to a different
bank once a month.

If memory serves, he managed to pick up something like 24,000 to 26,000
sterling per year for about three and a half years before being caught,
at which juncture he pointed out to the bank that they couldn't very
well prosecute him, because if he'd been stealing from the bank, then
the bank had been stealing from all its customers.

After some study and consideration, the bank's legal department advised
them that he was right: if he was guilty of misappropriating funds, then
so was the bank.  So all they could do was ask him to leave, to which he
said, "Fair enough."  He didn't care that much about losing his job; he
was set by then anyway.  Most-of-90,000 pounds sterling circa 1970 was a
*lot* of money.

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