Aayush Arora embezzled more than $260k from ANZ to fuel gambling addiction

He started gambling in 2019 while unemployed and ended up taking out multiple loans to pay off his losses and the debt.

25-year-old Aayush Arora, a former Auckland bank employee, embezzled $262,000 from ANZ to allegedly fuel a severe gambling addiction.

Mr Arora has been ordered to serve home detention and pay the money back to the bank at $130 a week.

It is reported by the NZ Herald that Mr Arora approved 15 fraudulent loans over one month while he was working from home.

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ANZ bank discovered the missing money in a July 2023 audit and Arora was arrested in October 2023.

The agreed summary of facts submitted in the court noted that Mr Arora immediately returned $47,000 that he had not spent. Still, the remaining $215,000 “was largely gambled away at the SkyCity Casino in Auckland.”

Police prosecutor Sam Papp described the embezzlement scheme as “high-end, sophisticated offending.” She added that Mr Arora was co-operative with police and the bank also supported a non-custodial sentence.

Judge Bell observed in her sentencing:

“His intention was to gamble [the embezzled ANZ money] and pay off his debt to have a normal life, but it didn’t pan out that way. He knew it was wrong and that he was putting his career in jeopardy but “he was in so much debt and pressure, he felt it was his last way to save his life”.

Mr Arora’s lawyer Hyuk Woo argued that community detention would be the best outcome. He noted that his client was still young and was working hard to address the issues.

“It’s accepted Mr Arora has committed really serious offending and has caused a serious amount of damage. He’s willing to repay.”

Judge Bell rejected the community detention request but approved home detention as she described the scheme as a “gross breach of trust.”

“The steps you have started to take are to be commended, Mr Arora, but you’ve got a long way to go.”

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Auckland District Court’s Judge Debra Bell was told by Mr Arora’s lawyer that he could pay another $2500 in reparation immediately.

Judge Bell authorised an additional $20,000 to be removed from his KiwiSaver account. But more than $190,000 that remains missing still needs to be paid off in instalments.

Further, the judge ordered that Mr Arora’s weekly payments will be reassessed in a year to see if they can be increased.

Mr Arora’s family moved to New Zealand when he was a child. NZ Herald reports that Mr Arora started gambling in 2019 while unemployed. He ended up taking out multiple loans to pay off his losses and the debt continued to increase significantly.

Mr Arora has now found work as a cashier at a South Auckland restaurant and at the current rate of repayment it may take him more than 25 years to return the money.

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