September 15, 2019

Guy Who Ran Off with $1.5 Million in Credit Suisse Money Was Once a Deloitte Spreadsheet Jockey

In case you avoid the financial news like I avoid Colin before I've had my morning coffee, let's get you nice and caught up on the hedge fund manager on the run after Credit Suisse "accidentally" sent him $1.5 million that wasn't his:

In the board game Monopoly, when the bank makes an error in your favor, the player gets to keep the money. A hedge fund manager is acting as if he has drawn that lucky card for real, a lawsuit against him contends.

Credit Suisse says it wired a total of $1.5 million in three transactions to the hedge fund’s bank account on one day in January. Two weeks later, according to its lawsuit, the bank realized it had made a mistake: At the time of the wire transfers, the hedge fund, Galbraith Capital Investment Management, was winding down operations and it had no cash left in its account with Credit Suisse.

The bank asked for its money back.

It is still waiting.

Galbraith renounced his U.S. citizenship back in 2011, and now CS can't find him. He is probably somewhere in Europe but that doesn't really narrow things down much as anyone who ever played Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego can tell you.

Most of us don't exactly hold banks in high regard, so if one happens to "accidentally" send some clown a few million dollars, it's more of an opportunity to make fun of the bank for making such a huge error than a time to make the guy who ran off with that money look like a criminal who robbed the bank. Of course, it's CS so I know some of you are like pfft, immaterial.

You'll fondly recall the Detroit man with $300 in his Bank of America account who discovered a technical error allowed him to make unlimited withdrawals. Ronald Page ended up taking $1,543,104 out of the bank over a two week period and lost it all gambling. A federal judge later sentenced Page to 15 months in prison and has to pay the money back. But that guy had a gambling problem.

Surely Galbraith knew what he was doing was wrong, if in fact what he did was wrong. He claims Credit Suisse is just being a jerk:

Reached by a reporter recently via email, Mr. Galbraith said he had not been aware of the Credit Suisse lawsuit. In an email, he said the accusations against him were “ridiculous, bordering on laughable” and part of an effort to malign and slander his character.

Wait… how is it reporters can get this guy by email and yet the bank claims he's all but fallen off the face of the planet?

Folks on the DealBook article aren't really siding with Credit Suisse here. One wrote:

I love CS as far as banks go.

But my sentiment is "Tough darts, CS! Suck it up!"

Maybe CS and other bulwarks of bankish prudence have more money than they can intelligently handle.

Another said:

They all deserve each other. "You can't cheat an honest man."

In other words, if this had been an honest grandmother who accidentally sent her life savings to some scumbag hedgie who then ran off with it, We the People might be more outraged.

Oh, and about that missing hedgie. He got his start as a Deloitte spreadsheet jockey:

Galbraith won a scholarship to the University of Connecticut, squeezing a two-year master’s program into one year while teaching undergraduate algebra. “There were no jobs for actuaries in Kansas City,” he says. “I had job offers from the day I stepped on campus there.”

In 1996, at Deloitte & Touche LLP in Hartford, Galbraith quickly realized insurance consulting wasn’t for him.

“They throw you into a hole, and they give you a stack of papers to crunch into a spreadsheet,” he recalls. “You’re just entering numbers all day long, mindlessly.”

Now, knowing the honest, trustworthy people of Deloitte like we do (LMAO), do we really think a Deloitte alum would run off with $1.5 million of money that isn't his?

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