7 December, 2023


Massive Fraud At Sampath Bank: Millions Of Rupees Siphoned Off By Manager And Partners In Crime: Media Hushed Using “Advertising Power”

The scam appeared to have begun nearly one and a half years ago. The victims of the fraud say their cheques and the slips amounts were manipulated and balances were added as Over Drafts (ODs). The fraud came to light when their accounts were audited last year.

Criminal Investigation Department, on 15/01/2019, arrested the suspected bank manager and the other individual and presented them before the Kaduwela Magistrates’ Court. The Magistrate remanded the manager and the other individual for 14 days.

“The auditors had reportedly noticed the inconsistencies in the account, but initially could not figure out what the problem was. Following a thorough process, the auditors were able to identify suspicious transactions on their books and mismatches on their slips and cheques. The victims of this fraud are a group of businessmen in the area including a vehicle importer and an electrical contractor and an electrical shop owner,” a source familiar with the matter told Colombo Telegraph.

The bank manager has, with the help of a regional manager Sampath Bank and the present Manageress of the Thalahena Branch, have debited the account of a customer who is an Ayurvedic physician and made bank transfers to 21 persons who were completely unknown to the customer.

“This is the first time in the banking history that a bank has committed a fraud on a customer,” a banker told Colombo Telegraph. Our sources said there would be criminal liability on the directorate of Sampath Bank.

When the bank manager and another recipient of the cheated money were produced before the Kaduwela Magistrate, journalists from all main media stations have been present at the Magistrate’s Court premises covering the story. However, Sampath Bank, one of the biggest advertisers in the country, presurrized media into not running the story.

When the victims inquired from their bank branch in Thalahena about these fraudulent transactions on their accounts, the branch manager had described it as a “glitch” in the system. Moreover, he had assured them that it would be fixed soon.

The manager had apparently approved ODs for the complainant physician up to Rs 125 Million with no security and no proper application or evaluation of such application, and withdrawn cash. He had then transfered money to people chosen by him and later converted them into loans.

“There is evidence that some of these ODs were approved on bank holidays. Some ODs were approved for accounts opened under victims’ spouses with or without their knowledge. These staff members of the Sampath Bank have been operating a lucrative private bank within the bank, siphoning money off their customers. In order to entice the customers, they have approved overdrafs to such vulnerable customers with no security. In such dubious circumstances some of the customers have allowed the manager to withdraw further funds from their accounts,” our sources added.

A couple months ago, when the manager was transferred to another branch, the victims of the fraud had started receiving letters from the bank asking them to settle those dues, which they never obtained. When the victims complained to the bank, the bank officials had not taken their concerns into consideration. In fact, a senior official at the bank had informed one of the victims in writing that nothing illegal had happened as per their regulations.

It was at this point that the Physician had sought the assistance of the Criminal Investigation Department. After a prolonged investigation, the CID was able to uncover the extent of the fraud. During the period, some victims had even received threatening calls. During the investigation, it was revealed that the fraud was an organized crime.

The victims also claim that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka was in a deep slumber while Sampath Bank was siphoning off the customers’ money.

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Latest comments

  • 4

    What is this forum come to? Can’t you moderate these comments. Totally unrealted racial shit is posted here. Hard to believe how we have survived this far sharing this planet with all these extremists.

  • 12

    It appears that the article and many comments are directed to ridicule Sampath Bank, rather than the culprits. Can anyone of them could name a Bank in Sri Lanka including foreign banks operating here (excluding the recently opened ones) where frauds have not taken place in the past? There had even been incorrect information that Samapath Bank was in the verge of becoming bankrupt during Rajapaksha’s time. Are they trying to make a mountain out of an ant hill?

    • 3

      I totally agree with you on that bcoz I too heard about a collapse which was done by rival banks . As you say we have heard of such bank frauds and organised crimes in leading banks in the past too .
      So this is nothing new to us but an opportunity for rivals to discredit another leading bank with ulterior motives .

    • 3

      Truth should be accepted. The delay in accepting the fraud at Head Office Level gives suspicion

  • 4

    How come DP could not use his AI technology to be ready before the fraud happens?

  • 6

    The bank is now run by Tharaka and not by its MD. How can a bank’s entire operations are run by a man who knows only marketing.No wonder such fraud take place in such situations..

  • 3

    Hey Ranjith,
    You are right. There have been many frauds at Banks both foreign and local. All those frauds have been committed on the bank. May be by bank officer or by customers.
    This is the 1st time in the history where the bank has committed a fraud on the customers of the bank.

    • 5

      Well Upendra, NSB Galle branch too, had a case where my 70 year old sisterinlaw was robbed off. She operated an account and never bothered to check on it for years to end. Until she received a letter from the Bank asking her to call over no reason given. She had met an officer with the letter and inquired what it was about. And was informed she had NOT Repaid the loan she had taken from her Savings. She informed them she had never ever taken a loan and was put to the Manager who categorically told this old lady she had taken a loan. They left and met an Ex Senior Officer who intervened and got her money back. Well this is happening with every bank I’m sure.

  • 5

    Same think happened to me , Commercial Bannk Rajagiriya

  • 10

    This stroy is completely false to mention the bank at fault and the current managress. This so-called ayurvedic doctor had summoned all big media, but the declined to publish the story to discredit a reputed bank to see that there were no substantil proof that the doctor can produce to confirm a fraud has happened.

    How can anyone stay without getting alerted while 125 million is stolen from and account for 1 1/2 years, they get bank statements every month, and on top of all SMS alerts are there.

    Even for a single credit card transaction of 100 rupees, cusotmers can complain to bank. It is heard that the two peple responsible (the previous manager and the one arreseted) are invloved in this scam together with the so-called ayurvedic doctor. Let’s see how the tables will turn in the near future.

    Also it is hear that this so-calle doctor has done the same to a BOC manager some time back, and trying to repeat the same to another manager by befriending him at a very close level. Seems truth will come out very soon…

    • 5

      Hi Sunny,
      As you mentioned how a customer stay for 1 1/2 years ? This Dr. Is a fraudster. Do you know very first 2 cid officers refuse to arrest bank manager due to Lak of evidence etc: them 2 have transferred. CID chief been heavily bribed & the Kaduwela Magistrate too. You all come to know how & why. Branch manager not arrested on 15 th according to article. It’s on 22nd January. There are lots of evidence this Dr associating with other 5 businessmens . One of them volunteer by him to self to cid not arrested. Support to manager. Bank is about to take legal action for not settling huge OD by this rough Dr. Then only he created this story to get away with . Colombo Telegraph also to be careful when writing articles like this. It’s shame on Telegraph.
      Some times thinks reporter too taken nice bundle of cash from Dr. Wait & see. Lots more to come in future. Regards to all interest parties.

    • 1

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2 – Alternatively you can write an opinion piece to Colombo Telegraph.

    • 0

      Sunny, you have expressed a total different view to the matter, hope the investigators looks at the situation from that point of view as well.

  • 2

    I had bad experience with one bank another gave a loan to a person who forged my dear friend’s house deeds, even threatened her using thughs. Cinnamon gardens police refuse to intervine.MR was informed about this but nothing good happened to my friend. The crooks and the bank tried to auction her house but was stopped by the courts. There’s corruption right through the country and innocent people are helpless. We need a honest leadership in the country.

  • 1

    I refer to the Telegraph article of 290/01/2019 about an alleged fraud in a branch of the sampath bank,and wonder on what grounds the CID had proceeded without presenting evidence for and against,and action taken to remand the BM.Why not examine the so called doctor’s behaviour as well and arrest him too,despite he being a customer.This is a clear scam by connivance initiated by a customer.The bank having all control measures in place,it is impossible to create such an event.
    Being an ex bank employee and having worked in the bank’s IT dept some time ago,there is no room for anyone to play around with the system.The CID must investigate all bank accounts of this doctor and his gang in order to surface the thruth of this crime.
    There had been frauds in many banks here and overseas,except where a customer master minding a fraud and unintentionally a manager getting caught in between the bank and the customer.
    The bank’s authorities must file action against this customer and his gang claiming damages soon.

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