JPMorgan Employee Charged in Stealing $5 Mil From Bank to Pay Off Gambling Debts

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(Reuters) - A former JPMorgan Chase & Co employee who has been ordered to attend counseling for gambling is facing criminal charges that he engaged in a scheme to defraud the bank out of $5 million in order to pay personal debts.

Lawrence Obracanik, who worked as an operations manager for JPMorgan's broker-dealer services, was charged in a criminal complaint made public on Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan with wire fraud and attempted wire fraud.

Obracanik, a 42-year-old resident of Fort Worth, Texas, turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday in New York, according to a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Following a court appearance that day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine Parker, he was released on a $100,000 bond. He was instructed as part of his bail conditions to seek employment and attend counseling for gambling, according to court records.

A lawyer for Obracanik did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

The complaint against Obracanik did not identify JPMorgan by name. But a profile for him on LinkedIn said that he had worked for the bank in Texas. A spokesman for JPMorgan declined co comment. The bank is based in New York.

According to the complaint, from July 2014 to February 2016, Obracanik made or tried to make 22 wire transfers for more than $5 million from an account at a bank that was apparently JPMorgan to an account at another bank belonging to an unnamed individual.

The complaint said that during an interview with two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in August, Obracanik admitted wiring the money to that person's account and said that he had done so to pay personal debts.

The case is U.S. v. Obracanik, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-mj-7732.

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