Federal and state authorities are searching for a man that they say embezzled about $17 million in bank funds. The case has turned into something of a mystery after the man disappeared last month, leaving behind his family and a series of letters that have left many questions unanswered about the allegations and his current whereabouts.
The man had been working as a bank director handling brokerage accounts and investments for clients. His letters indicate that although he sent out statements to clients reflecting earnings, he actually lost the money. Authorities say that the letters expressed serious emotional problems and remorse for his actions. He did not say that he stole any money or committed other white collar crimes, but rather that it was all lost through bad investments.
Police are concerned that the man may have committed suicide. Before he disappeared he moved his family to a new home near his wife's parents.
The trail of evidence that the man left behind ends with a ferry ticket which was scanned at the dock, indicating that he may have gotten onto the boat. Witnesses have not been able to give police additional information about whether or not he did get on the boat or off he got off and where. There is some suspicion that he left for Venezuela, where he owned property.
The surreal and dramatic events in this case have led some to compare it to works of fiction. An official from the local sheriff's office said that the case is almost like a novel. One apparent victim says that the bank director's performance when he met her could have won an Oscar.
Fleeing the country or otherwise disappearing is typically not a good way to deal with accusations of white collar crimes or significant financial losses. If the man is arrested in the future he will likely face greater penalties for fleeing from law enforcement.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Missing bank director sends confession, disappears" July 11, 2012.