An Italian Banker Moved $1 Million From Rich Clients To Poor Ones
Robin Hood, of course, is the tale of the outlaw who took from the rich and gave to the poor. Either that or it's the story of someone who wanted to reduce taxes. Or someone who really hated sheriffs. Really, there's something for everyone in the Robin Hood legend. But mostly, we remember "stole from the rich and gave to the poor," and the modern version of that would be Gilberto Baschiera.
Baschiera managed the bank in Forni di Sopra, a small Italian town. In 2009, with the financial crisis taking down European economies left and right, Italy put in place new strict rules about lending. The bank manager, who normally wielded enormous power, now had to deny loans to anyone whose assets failed to meet a set threshold.
So when someone too poor asked Baschiera for a loan, he moved money into their account, from a different account. He figured that thanks to the loan, the customer's prospects would improve, they'd pay all the money back, and he'd soon be able to return the diverted funds.
That didn't happen. In fact, you might remember that lending to those who'd not normally qualify was one of the many causes of the financial crisis. Even Robin Hood never expected the poor to be able to pay back the money they got.
Baschiera kept trying to make his scheme work, and by 2016, he'd moved over $1 million. This was finally too much to keep hidden, he got caught, and he ended up getting sentenced to two years in prison.
But luckily for him, "sentenced to two years in prison" means something different in Italy from what you'd expect. As a first-time offender serving a minor sentence, he actually didn't have to go to prison at all. Prosecutors were willing to go a little easy on him because despite the opportunity, he hadn't taken any money for himself.
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