John Rusnak is a former currency trader at Allfirst bank, then part of AIB Group, in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. On January 17, 2003 he was sentenced to 7½ years in prison for hiding US$691 million in losses at the bank in 2002, after bad bets snowballed in one of the largest ever cases of bank fraud. He was transferred from prison to a halfway house in June 2008, to home confinement in September 2008, and ultimately released from home confinement on January 5, 2009, serving less than 6 years. Since his return to society, Rusnak has become an advocate for second chances for men coming home from incarceration and for those in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Rusnak could have faced up to 30 years in prison. The original 7 1⁄2 year sentence was part of a plea bargain with US prosecutors. He was released early having earned good-behavior credits and completing a drug treatment program. Upon his release, he started paying US$1,000 a month for the five years of his probation.
Rusnak will remain on the hook for the full $691 million he lost, but prosecutors said the amount he pays back will depend on how much money he is able to make after leaving prison.
Following the scandal, AIB sold Allfirst to M&T Bank of Buffalo, New York, in July 2003. AIB retained 23% of M&T stock. Although the news media blamed the scandal, the merger talks actually began prior to the revelation of the losses. In the banking environment at that time the merger was inevitable. Over 1,100 Allfirst employees lost their jobs in the sale.
Panic At The Bank is a book written by Siobhán Creaton and Conor O'Clery, both journalists who followed the story for the Irish newspaper The Irish Times, that details the events which lead up to the fraud and how it was carried out and hidden from the bank's authorities. It is published by Gill and Macmillan.
- Panic At The Bank A book review of Panic At The Bank.
- AIB Group The owner of Allfirst bank at the time of the fraud.
- Indictment document filed with the District Court of Maryland https://web.archive.org/web/20040714210843/http://www.justice.gov/dag/cftf/chargingdocs/allfirst.pdf
- Baltimore Sun story of Rusnak
- Rusnak's Speech at the CBMC
- NPR Morning Edition Interview