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Banker Aayush Sinks $262K Stolen ANZ Money At SkyCity Casino

Aayush Arora appears for sentencing in Auckland District Court after embezzling $262,000 from his employer, ANZ. Photo: NZ Herald / Jason Oxenham

A Kiwi-Indian banker has been ordered to pay $130 a week to fully repay $262,000 that he embezzled from his former employer ANZ to splurge on his gambling addiction. 

Auckland-based Aayush Arora, 25, who pilfered $262,000 to feed a crippling gambling habit, now faces home detention as part of his repayment plan.


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Working remotely as a personal banker, Arora exploited his position to green-light 15 fake loans during a month last winter, with ANZ bank discovering the discrepancy in a July audit. Despite promptly returning $47,000, he squandered the remaining $215,000 at Auckland's SkyCity Casino.

Facing Judge Debra Bell in Auckland District Court, Arora, via his lawyer, pledged an immediate $2,500 in restitution. The judge approved an additional $20,000 withdrawal from his KiwiSaver account. However, the outstanding $190,000 will be settled gradually through payments linked to his less lucrative role as a restaurant cashier, a process projected to span "quite a few years," the judge acknowledged.

Reassessing Arora's payments in a year, Judge Bell acknowledged the need for a potential increase. While prosecutor Sam Papp characterised the embezzlement as sophisticated, she highlighted Arora's cooperation, and the bank advocated for a non-custodial sentence.

Arora, who initiated his gambling habit in 2019 during unemployment, aimed to alleviate family financial strain. Despite accruing debts from multiple loans to cover losses, his intentions to settle the embezzled funds through gambling didn't materialise, leading to his arrest.

Arora acknowledged the wrongdoing, recognising the jeopardy to his career but contended it was his last resort under immense debt pressure. 

Defense lawyer Hyuk Woo argued for community detention based on remorse, cultural factors, early guilt admission, and a previously unblemished record. The judge, however, rejected this and opted for home detention.

Woo acknowledged Arora's gambling addiction's role in the offense but stressed his client's commitment to rectify the situation, emphasising Arora's exclusion from SkyCity. 

While acknowledging the severity of the offense, Woo asserted Arora's willingness to repay. Nevertheless, at the current repayment pace, it will take more than 25 years to settle the debt.

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