Tricked in Mexico, Oil Company Says

HOUSTON (CN) – Diamond Offshore oil company says its administrator in Mexico conspired with an HSBC bank manager to embezzle 14.6 million pesos through false invoices and depositing into the employee’s account. The peso is trading at about 12.6 to the U.S. dollar.




     Diamond Offshore sued the bank and its own former employees, Conadat Isaias Gomez Berman, of Mission, Texas. Gomez allegedly pulled off the scheme while he lived and worked in Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico, managing Diamond Offshore’s “shore-based operations” for drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
     Each week Gomez would e-mail an invoice to Diamond Offshore, requesting that money to cover checks be transferred from Diamond Offshore’s U.S. bank accounts to its HSBC account in Mexico, according to the complaint in Harris County Court.
     Diamond says Gomez and an HSBC bank manager “conspired to embezzle a portion of the transferred sums from the plaintiffs’ bank account.”
     Gomez wrote checks on Diamond Offshores’ accounts to pay the fraudulent invoices and the HSBC bank manager deposited the funds into Gomez’s account, rather than to the payee of the check, according to the complaint.
     Diamond Offshore says it discovered the fraud in June 2009 when it analyzed the backs of the checks, the only way to see where the money was deposited, and saw that they had been deposited into Gomez’s account.
     Diamond says it demanded that HSBC Bank repay the 14 million pesos that had been embezzled, but bank offered to pay back only half of it.
     Diamond wants all the money back.
     It is represented by Laura Haley of Houston.

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