Former Bank of Montreal employee accused of embezzling $9M
3 victims reimbursed by bank, but investigators say there's still 'millions of lost dollars'
A former financial services director at Bank of Montreal is accused of embezzling $9 million dollars over the course of eight years, in what Montreal police describe as one of the largest fraud cases in Quebec history.
Bassam Salman, a 62-year-old who worked at a Montreal branch, had retired and moved back to his native Lebanon in 2012 after allegedly falsifying client reports and taking their money by making unauthorized transactions in their name, in a scheme known as "lapping."
"He'd make fake documents, saying the money was there, but he was diverting it towards his own profits to buy houses and cars," said Juan Vargas, financial fraud investigator with Montreal police.
Millions still lost
Salman is facing charges for fraud of over $5,000 and faces up to 14 years in prison.
The Bank of Montreal lodged a complaint with police in 2013 and filed a lawsuit of nearly $2.8 million against him.
Montreal and Longueuil police made the arrest June 21 as Salman had returned to Canada.
He was released pending his next court appearance, and police have confiscated his passport.
Three of the victims identified by the investigation were reimbursed by BMO. Two of those clients are American.
But there's still "millions of lost dollars," Vargas said.
"We don't know where they are."
With files from Radio-Canada's Éric Plouffe