Legally blind former Citigroup VP Gary Foster had no trouble seeing dollar signs when he devised a scheme to embezzle an estimated $22 million from his employer.
Foster, 35, pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn, N.Y., federal courtroom to bank fraud charges, telling the judge, “I did this from my Citigroup office …” He faces up to 10 years in prison, and may be fined as much as $44 million, as part of a plea deal he worked out with federal prosecutors.
Of the 12 years Foster spent working for Citigroup, the last eight were spent siphoning off cash — wiring it into his personal Chase bank account. He quit his job in January and was arrested by federal agents in June upon his return from a Bangkok vacation.
As a Citigroup VP, Foster earned $100,000 annually, but he lived an extravagant lifestyle that included the purchase of a Ferrari, a Maserati GranTurismo and a BMW 550i — along with the services of a personal chauffeur to drive him around in the cars. The New York Post reported that Foster frequented expensive spas for facials and massages, and was a regular on the New York party scene where he sported expensive clothes and jewelry and often dropped $2,000 on bottle service.
In December, 2010, Foster allegedly spent $3 million on a 10,000-square-foot mansion in New Jersey and $1.93 million on a Rockefeller Center condo. One of Foster’s homes is said to have ceilings painted in gold leaf, another features a bathroom with mirrors that turn into TV screens at the touch of a button.
Last year Foster told The Bergen Record in an article featuring a photo of him in his 33d floor zebra-carpeted condo overlooking the Hudson river, “I walked into the unit and was like, ‘Wow. This is a really great view.’ ”
A really great view?
A “legally blind” person must stand 20 feet from an object (while wearing corrective lenses) to see clearly what the normally sighted person sees at 200 feet. Those afflicted are eligible for tax breaks and other benefits.
Hmm. Makes you wonder if there’s even more to this “blind” man’s story than meets the eye.
Read more at the New York Post.