Hernan Arbizu, a former executive at American investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co who had been hiding in Argentina for eight years has pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court. Arbizu had been on the run since 2008, after he was fired and indicted by his former employer on charges of fraud. Before he could face prosecution from federal authorities, he fled to his native Argentina, until he was extradited in June this year. He was facing charges for embezzling $5.4 million from clients at JP Morgan and his previous employer UBS AG. “I knew what I was doing was wrong,” Arbizu said in court. “I’m very sorry and am ashamed by my actions.” He will now face a minimum term of two years in prison, with a maximum sentence of 422 years.
His lawyer, Guy Lewis, said his client was cooperating with prosecutors, so this should help reduce the length of his sentence. The 48-year-old was formerly a vice president in JP Morgan’s private banking division. He oversaw client assets worth over $200 million, and also managed relationships with their high-net-worth customers from Argentina. Between March 2007 and April 2008, Arbizu made 12 wire transfers from clients at both banks, valued at $5.38 million. Of this, $2.8 million went to an account in UBS, which JP Morgan believed was done to cover his previous theft at the institution. He then fled the country with confidential client data, which resulted in Argentine authorities raiding JP Morgan’s office in Buenos Aires. JP Morgan has not been charged with any wrongdoing.