Bank teller arrested after hiding for 8 years

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Bank teller arrested after hiding for 8 years

A former bank teller who has been in hiding for more than eight years after being accused of withdrawing 5 billion won ($4.71 million) from nearly 120 clients’ accounts over a four-year period in the early 2000s has been caught by the police in Jeonju, North Jeolla.

The Wansan Police Precinct in Jeonju reported yesterday they arrested the 40-year-old suspect, identified by her surname Kim, in Jeonju on Sunday.

According to the police, Kim lost more than 100 million won, some of which was her parents’ money, from stock and futures investments in the late 1990s.

Pressured to recover her losses, Kim allegedly raided into the accounts of clients at the bank by issuing fake deposit receipts then not actually depositing their money.

By doing so, Kim embezzled more than 5 billion won from August 2000 to late 2004 - all of which she then lost in stock investments.

The suspect’s four years of stealing came to an end in January 2005 when the bank, whose identity was withheld by the police, conducted an internal probe. Realizing that she was about to be discovered, Kim went into hiding, which lasted until Sunday.

The police said that during her eight-year run, Kim had never lived outside of Jeonju, residing alone in a one-room apartment. She is also said to have met with her family, her husband and son, only late at night and never used mobile phones, sticking to public phones to avoid the police investigation.

The woman also never used credit cards, using only cash. The police said Kim lived off of what little was left from her embezzled money, along with an allowance from her family during her eight-year run.

Upon being arrested, Kim told the police she was mostly sorry for her 15-year-old son.

“I was going to turn myself in after my son took his high school entrance exam later this year,” Kim was quoted by the police as saying during questioning. The police also said Kim acknowledged the embezzlement charges raised against her.

“We understand that Kim’s bank covered the losses suffered by its clients,” said a detective involved in the investigation.

The police yesterday asked the prosecution to request a pre-trial detention warrant from the courts against Kim for embezzlement.


BY KWON CHEOL-AM [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]



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