The Chairman and His Board

Embezzlers nearly get away with $69 million from First Chicago

The caper took a month to plan, and just 64 minutes to execute. On Friday, May 13 -- a date chosen in a spirit of mischief -- an $18,000-a-year clerk at First National Bank of Chicago set in motion a simple scheme that nearly bilked his employer out of $68.7 million. Aided by a gang of accomplices and his knowledge of a few secret codes, Gabriel Taylor, 27, electronically transferred the money from accounts belonging to Merrill Lynch, United Airlines and Brown-Forman distillers to accounts that some of the conspirators had set up under assumed names at two banks in Vienna....

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