Thursday, 9 June 2005

Secretary who stole millions

BBC showed a programme last night called The secretary who stole four milllion pounds about a woman who stole money from her employer. Joyti De-Laurey was a PA at Goldman Sachs. Over a couple of years she forged cheques amounting to $7½M. She was jailed for seven years, along with her husband, a taxi driver, who was jailed for 1½ years because "he probably knew that the money was stolen". At the time of her trial, the media were not sympathetic to her.

The interesting part of the programme was the insight into the lives of Goldman Sach's executives. They thought nothing of running up a $30,000 wine bill. Joyti was the person responsible for paying the bills so had a unique insight into the incredible life-style of these people.

She was also treated like a slave. She was on-call 24/7 (in spite of having a husband and child) and was responsible for organising the business and personal lives of her bosses - including covering for her boss when he sneaked away in the middle of the day for sexual liaisons.

De-Laurey started small, signing cheques for small amounts of money to pay for her debts. But she grew in confidence when she got away with signing hundreds of cheques - for increasing amounts of money. Eventually her audacity and greed got the better of her and she was caught cashing a cheque for $3½M to pay for a house in Cyprus.

It's hard to believe that you could fail to spot millions of dollars going missing but when you earn $100M a year, I guess a few million here or there are easy to miss. As a former director of Golden Sachs said: When you're making £60m a year, a few million missing is like a regular person not remembering the last penny on their account.

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