Robin Hood Robin Hood Riding Through The Bank

A rare example of humanistic altruism in the now much hated world of banking comes from Germany. Erika Schmidt, the manager of a bank branch in Germany was found to be transferring money from rich clients into the accounts of those who were heavily in debt. Her lawyer said that “she couldn’t bear to see my less-fortunate customers go hungry”.

Her aim was to stop the struggling accounts from being closed due to lack of funds. When these accounts became solvent again she would largely transfer the money back again. She took no money herself but was found to have transferred a total of 7.6 million Euros between December 2003  and February 2005.

Inevitably despite her interventions some clients never managed to become solvent again and so the bank lost 1.1 million euros due to the bad debt.

A court in Bonn was viewed the altruistic fraud leniently by handing out a 22 month suspended jail term.

It is reported that the manager lost her job and now lives off a small pension.Her lawyer said “She did it out of compassion for people and now she is as poor as a church mouse herself”

Photo by marie-ll under this creative commons license



3 thoughts on “Robin Hood Robin Hood Riding Through The Bank

  1. A fascinating story indeed. What I wonder is: Did any of the customers who received unexpected money notice the fact? Did they report the “mistake” to the bank? Or grab the money and run?

    The sentence handed down was lenient indeed but if the good lady is really now “as poor as a church mouse”, that seems more than adequate punishment for a “crime” that was committed with the best of intentions. Will any of the clients she helped be inviting her out to dinner to help her make ends meet? My guess is not…

  2. I thought exactly what Silver Tiger said. People who have few funds in their account are bound to notice if they suddenly increase. But I suppose some would probably keep quiet.

    It seems a fair punishment to me too given that she did not benefit herself and wasn’t hurting anyone else.

    I wonder how long she was doing it for?

    I loved that little story about the women who “rescued” the old bank notes that was on TV a while back. Obviously they were doing it for themselves but it was still rather heartening.

  3. Oooh you couple of misanthropes. I believe the account prop ups were disguised as loans so I expect people were called in and offered unofficial and undocumented temporary loans financed by the better off clients of whom it could equally be said that they too didn’t examine their own finances with a fine tooth comb.

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