ASB Bank has apologised again to its customers after one of its former staff stole nearly $18 million, which he splurged on property and prostitutes.
Stephen Gerard Versalko was sentenced yesterday to six years in prison after pleading guilty and being convinced on to three charges brought by Serious Fraud Office.
The Auckland District Court heard how Versalko spent $3.4 million on two prostitutes, a $3.2 million home in exclusive Auckland suburb Remuera and a $1.8 million beach-front property in the Coromandel.
Reflecting on the case, ASB claimed only a small number of customers were affected by Versalko’s actions and all the victims had been reimbursed.
In fact 28 high net worth ASB clients were defrauded over a period of nine years.
The fraud involved Versalko transferring funds to make fictitious investments on behalf of customers with whom he had established trusted relationships.
Versalko covered this by paying these customers their anticipated interest and capital repayments.
He was fired by the bank in August.
The amount stolen by Versalko is more than the largest proven employment theft of $16.9 million by a member of the Otago District Health Board who was jailed for nine years in March 2009 - a record for an SFO prosecution.
ASB said the fraud contributed to a net loss for the bank of $10 million for the six months to December 31.
The bank said it had strengthened security so “this situation does not happen again.”
“We apologise again to these customers who were impacted by his actions,” the bank said in a statement.