Former Goldman Sachs VP Arrested for Attempted $5.4m Theft to Feed Poker Addiction

  • The VP used a junior employee’s credentials to transfer company funds
  • The employee red-flagged transactions which led to the arrest
  • Funds were routed back to Goldman Sachs before any damage was done
  • A former company employee is also under arrest and being investigated for instigating the theft
cyber hacker trying to steal dollars
A former Goldman Sachs VP reportedly tried to steal $5.4m from the company to pay off gambling debts. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Poker addiction fueled theft

A Goldman Sachs vice president has been arrested at the firm’s Bengaluru, India office for trying to steal $5.4m. Ashwani Jhunjunhwala attempted to transfer company funds to a bank account in China to pay off a gambling debt due to his poker addiction.

The VP reportedly used his position to mentor junior employees and then take advantage of them in an attempt to secure the funds.

Complaint led to arrests

A complaint filed by Abhishek Parsheera, a legal head of Goldman Sachs, led to the arrests of Jhunjhunwala and a former Goldman Sachs employee, Vedant Rungta. The company fired Rungta about a year and a half ago for suspected fraud. The firing happened as a result of a similar attempt to steal funds.

Rungta reportedly instigated Jhunjhunwala to siphon a large amount in exchange for $400,000 to pay off debts. The money went out from an account at Goldman Sachs on September 2. Two days later, a junior employee red-flagged the two transactions. Police were brought in on the matter by September 8.

Rungta reportedly instigated Jhunjhunwala to siphon a large amount in exchange for $400,000

Officials rerouted the money back to Goldman Sachs, with Rungta and Jhunjhunwala arrested. According to Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao, officials acted quickly to have the transaction reversed. This resulted in the money remaining at Goldman Sachs. Rao informed that:

Both accused are in our custody. We are going to dig deep into this to know if more people are involved.”

Caught in the act

It was Jhunjhunwala’s junior employee Gaurav Mishra that caught him in the act of stealing the funds. According to police, Mishra stated that Jhunjhunwala had accessed his computer two days prior to the time he red-flagged the two transactions.

Using Mishra’s credentials, Jhunjhunwala created third-party standard settlement instructions to Synergy Wisdom Ltd in Hong Kong. On September 4, Jhunjhunwala approved payments totaling $5.4m in two installments. Mishra found records of the transactions and spoke with the financial firm’s legal department on the matter. Video footage revealed Jhunjhunwala used Mishra’s computer without the junior employee’s knowledge.

Police have said that Jhunjhunwala suffered gambling losses and was trying to use the money to pay off debts.