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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Texas Man Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Multimillion-Dollar Wire Fraud

Lawrence Obracanik Used Bank Operations Manager’s Role to Steal More than $5 Million

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that LAWRENCE OBRACANIK pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams to one count of wire fraud for his theft of more than $5 million from the bank at which he worked (“Bank-1”) through fraudulent wire transfers. 

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “As Lawrence Obracanik admitted in court today, for nearly two years he stole in excess of $5 million from his employer to line his own pockets and pay off his debts.  In the end, however, Obracanik’s fraud has led to a federal criminal conviction.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “As he admitted, Obracanik, a bank employee, cashed in on a deal to pay his debts and leave his employer with millions of dollars in losses. But the endgame left him with few options, and he’s admitted to his crime today.”

According to the Complaint, the Information, and statements made during today’s guilty plea:     

Between July 2014 and February 2016, OBRACANIK was an Operations Manager for Bank-1’s Broker Dealer Services.  During that time, OBRACANIK was responsible for a series of fraudulent and unauthorized wire transfers from Bank-1 to an individual account at another bank (the “Bank-2 Account”) totaling more than $5 million.  The wire transfers were made either directly or through book transfers using an intermediate company (“Company-1”).  OBRACANIK reported to Company-1 personnel that the book transfers were accidental and the money should be wired to the Bank-2 Account.  OBRACANIK later admitted that the transfers were intentional and had, in fact, been intended to pay OBRACANIK’s personal debts. 

*                      *                     *

OBRACANIK, 42, of Fort Worth, Texas, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.  

OBRACANIK will be sentenced by Judge Abrams on July 7, 2017, at 11 a.m.                  

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz is in charge of the prosecution.

17-068
Topic: 
Financial Fraud
Updated March 2, 2017