Chapter 10 Page 1 of 7

The plan was to walk in on Mr. Levinski unannounced, make it known that we were aware of the stalling tactics used by his bank to delay processing of EFT’s, and use that as leverage to learn whatever it was that he knew. It took quite a bit of coaxing on my part to convince Lisa to go along with this plan. She argued that I was in no position to accuse others of tampering with bank transactions. Nonetheless, she did eventually acquiesce and agree to take the necessary time off work (I don’t have that problem).

The plan worked well. Immediately upon being confronted, Mr. Levinski conceded that the bank did deliberately falsify the error messages on July 11th. He hastened to add that stunts of this sort were not as uncommon as one might think. Other banks generally turned a blind eye to this sort of thing, so long as nobody abused the unwritten privilege. In the banking world, this was the equivalent to claiming that “the check is in the mail.”

Mr. Levinski went on to explain that it did not take the FBI long to uncover the scheme and to interrogate all of those involved. One of those people was Rudy Levinski himself. He was the one that actually implemented the scheme. He wrote the programs and his boss had him monitoring reserve levels and EFT amounts to determine when the bank needed to stall. It was Rudy Levinski that ran the program to generate the error messages on the 11th. My wire-tap caught the output of his program and recorded it.

Fortunately for Mr. Levinski, he was able to claim that he was little more than a pawn caught up in a corporate policy over which he had no control. To hold his job he must carry out the bank policies, irregardless of any improprieties he may find therein. Rudy explained to Lisa and me that it is his boss, Mr. Lampley, that will pay the largest price for that policy. The FBI has stated that it will prosecute Mr. Lampley and possibly some executives. This was one of the reasons that those same executives were treating Lisa as roughly as they were. I could only imagine what would happen if those men got there hands on me. Up to this point nobody at the bank was aware of my involvement. As far as they were concerned the forgeries and my replays were part of the same attack by some unknown hacker.

Lisa asked if Rudy thought that the people outside my apartment had been hired by his bosses. Rudy was adamant in insisting that the delay scam was not a major conspiracy. It was a common ploy used by banks and did not justify a major cover-up. Yes, it was illegal, but not unusual, he said. Furthermore, he was certain that the Mafia was not involved, nor any other sinister criminal element.

Rudy said that his greatest fear was that the hacker would never be found and that the FBI would need a scapegoat and that the bank would need a fall guy. It appeared very likely that Mr. Lampley would be a fall guy, but he would probably take some of his people down with him. As the man that actually operated the EFT system at the bank, Rudy was a good candidate for both a bank fall guy and an FBI scapegoat.

“This is my motivation for approaching Ms. Cryer to assist in any way I can,” Rudy explained. “That reason still stands. The fact that you two are aware of the EFT stalling operation in no way changes that. I am disappointed that you chose to visit me here at the my office, but as long as you are here anyway perhaps we can take this opportunity to review some of the forged payments together.

“Tell me Mr. Raymond, were you able to determine if the forgeries entered the EFT stream upstream or downstream of your wire-tap?”

“It was upstream — closer to St. Louis. My recordings of the traffic include the forged EFT’s on Lisa’s account.”

This pleased him. “That will help absolve First Chicago Trust then. If it was a bank employee that created the forgeries, it appears more likely that it was an employee of Bendix of St. Louis rather than my bank.” He sighed softly. “First Chicago Trust is in enough trouble as it is. It is a shame that we don’t use public-key cryptography to sign messages. If Bendix had used a private signing key instead of shared secret key, then my bank could not possibly know the signing key and would be above suspicion with respect to forgeries. As it is now, since we use shared symmetric keys, it is the word of each bank against the other.”

There was a brief silence and then Rudy asked gently, “what about the replays? Were those inserted into the message stream upstream or downstream of your tap?”