The Lehman Bank: Irregularities and Cybercrimes

Henry Lehman had until recently been the head of one of the world’s largest and most successful investment bank. Now he was on the verge of bankruptcy and facing a damning criminal trial. He blamed his misfortune on two people in particular. A former employee of his bank named Paul smith and the miserable vigilante going by the name of Batman. The unfortunate circumstances currently facing Henry Lehman could trace their start to ten months ago when the Lehman Bank hired Mr. Paul Smith as a senior accountant. Smith had had impressive credentials and the bank’s human resource office had felt lucky to hire such a talent. No one had suspected that Smith’s credentials were all falsified. Smith had never attended the prestigious Yale School of Management and his remarkable academic transcripts from this prestigious institute where nothing but forgeries.

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In reality, Smith was an average banking professional who had worked for one of the Lehman Bank’s subsidiaries. He had discovered that his parent bank and its subsidiaries were engaging in numerous irregularities. He had therefore set out to infiltrate the parent bank and gather incriminating evidence against it.

Smith was an individual of average capabilities and financial means and he could not hope to take down the Lehman Bank on his own. He had therefore reached out to the infamous vigilante, Batman. Batman had pointed out that Smith would have to engage in crime in order to take down the Bank. The list of illegal activities that Batman proposed were expansive. Smith, who had until now only committed misdemeanors and petty offenses such as driving without a license, was mortified. However, Batman had argued that for Lehman Bank to be brought down, enough evidence would have to be provided to enable the prosecutor’s office to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

A reluctant Smith had agreed to Batman’s proposals. However, Smith stressed that Batman was to desist from violent action except in the case of self defense. Batman was not to engage in the use of torture against Lehman Bank employees to obtain information. Smith argued that if Batman used the threat of violence to force employees to assist him, the defense could successfully use duress as a defense. In addition to this, they could not entice bank officials to engage in crime since this would constitute entrapment.

Due to these restrictions, Batman proposed engaging in computer crime to compromise the bank’s computing infrastructure. In addition to this, he suggested using cybercrime to acquire incriminating material against the bank. Cyber fraud would be used to trick bank employees into providing personal information. Phishing would be used to dupe employees into providing personal information such as their username and passwords. This information would subsequently be used to compromise their real accounts. This act would essentially constitute identity theft, as batman would use the bank employee’s personal information to access their personal accounts and financial resources.

In addition to this, it would be necessary to hack into the bank’s computer security system. Batman was a well-established hacker and he had been successful in using his powerful computers to break into other computer systems. Various options for compromising the Bank’s computer system were open to Batman. Viruses could be introduced to disrupt the operations of the systems or even destroy the data available in the bank’s databases.

Batman could also make use of worms that would exploit any security flaws in the Bank’s computer system and security and proceed to overwhelm the system causing it to crush. These methods were not desirable since the intention was to break into the banking system and obtain incriminating information against the Lehman Bank. The best option was therefore to use malware to make the compromised system do what Batman desired. Botnets could be used to give Batman control over the bank’s computers.

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As it turned out, hacking into the Bank’s network was not going to be an easy task. The Bank had invested in a proprietary security system and in order to access it, one needed a special hardware component to interface with the bank’s network. Mr. Lehman hid this special hardware in one of his houses. Batman and his accomplish could hardly hope to be provided with a search warrant to authorize the search and seizure of this special hardware from Lehman’s private property.

The Fourth Amendment explicitly protected Lehman from such arbitrary searches. In addition to this, no probable cause could be given for searching Mr. Lehman’s house since Batman’s intentions were to use the component to engage in cybercrime. An alternative was to engage in burglary to acquire the special hardware. This was preferred to a robbery that would involve the use of force against Mr. Lehman to obtain the device. However, a simple burglary would not be sufficient as Batman wished to cover his tracks. He therefore decided to engage in arson to destroy any evidence of the larceny committed against Mr. Lehman. Smith warned Batman to avoid capture since the arson would constitute a felony punishable by many years in prison.

Once the special hardware component was obtained, Batman could successfully hack into the bank’s system. Following the hacking, Batman and Mr. Smith worked hard to build a case against the Lehman bank. Using passwords provided by Batman, Smith was able to observe numerous white-collar crimes committed by top bank officials. There was a systematic embezzlement of client funds as the top financial officers underreported the profits obtained from client investments. There was also rampant insider trading which enabled key personnel in the bank to profit from stock trading. The bank was also a conduit for money laundering. Many criminals used the Lehman Bank to move and store their illegally obtained funds.

After a month of intense evidence collection, enough evidence had been gathered against the Lehman Bank. While Mr. Smith would have liked to receive credit from the authorities for his efforts, he was aware that the exclusionary rule would make his evidence inadmissible in court since it had been obtained illegally. He was therefore forced to present the evidence against the bank to the attorney’s office anonymously. Authorities used this evidence to acquire arrest warrants for many Lehman bank employees.

However, there no physical evidence directly implicating Mr. Lehman. There was no chance that he would provide self-incriminating evidence against himself since the Fifth Amendment guaranteed that the court could not force him to testify against himself. However, the attorney’s office was able to engage in plea-bargaining with the top bank officials who faced trial for multiple crimes. These officials promised to provide testimony that would be used against Mr. Lehman. Prosecutors from various States hoped to try Mr. Lehman for the same offense but Mr. Lehman was protected from double jeopardy by the Fifth Amendment and would therefore only be tried in the Gotham courts.

The confessions from the senior officials made it evident that Lehman’s actions satisfied the actus reus element of criminal law. It would be useless for his lawyers to try arguing that there was no mens rea since Mr. Lehman had all intentions of engaging in financial fraud. Due to the serious nature of Mr. Lehman’s crimes, he was issued with an indictment by the grand jury. Mr. Lehman now awaited trial before a grand jury and it was almost guaranteed that he would be found guilty.

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