JP Morgan sues ex-employee for embezzling customer money

JPMorgan Chase & Co, the USA's second-largest bank, has sued one of its former private banking executives, Hernan Arbizu, for stealing $2.8 million from a customer's account. Arbizu was arrested 17 months ago in Buenos Aires on criminal charges.

In a civil lawsuit filed on Monday in the Federal District Court in Manhattan, JPMorgan said Arbizu had arranged for the money to be wired to a customer account at his previous employer, UBS AG, an account from which it said he had also stolen funds.

"Arbizu committed this theft by lying to JPMorgan employees, falsifying documents, and forging the JPMorgan customer's signature in order to mislead JPMorgan to believe that the JPMorgan customer had directed these transfers," the complaint said.

Arbizu was arrested in July 2008 and charged by federal prosecutors in a 15-count indictment with embezzling about $5.4 million from bank customers. He remains in Argentina pending extradition, JPMorgan said.

In its complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, JPMorgan accused Arbizu of arranging for funds to be wired to a customer account at UBS from which he had also stolen funds.

JPMorgan said Arbizu served wealthy clients in Argentina and Chile before fleeing to Argentina in the spring of 2008. It said it fired Arbizu on 30 May of that year, and has reimbursed the defrauded customer.

Arbizu is in his early 40s, and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on the criminal charges, which include wire fraud, bank fraud, embezzlement and identity theft.