Huffpost Business

Wall St. Employees Scam Banks Into Paying For Extravagant Free Meals

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Even on Wall Street, there's no such thing as a free lunch. But there are free fancy dinners.

Most junior bankers on Wall Street are allowed a $25 meal stipend when working extra hours, but instead of a ham sandwich from the local deli, many are tricking employers into footing the bill for more extravagant eats, Fast Company reports (h/t The Jane Dough). Using an online ordering site, Wall Street employees have reportedly found a number of ways to order gourmet meals that include $90 lobster dinners and the some of the Financial District's finest sushi, according to anonymous bankers.

"Abuse of the system was rampant," a Morgan Stanley staffer told Fast Company. "I added up how much I ordered in my first year: It was more than $3,000 of food."

Of course, if true, this would be one of the less severe forms of abuse that Wall Street has been accused of in recent years. Take, for example, that Senate report that accused Goldman Sachs of selling clients products it knew to be junk and then betting against those same products -- probably a tad worse.

Stealing a basic necessity like food might seem especially odd in an industry famous for such high pay. But the idea of maximizing personal profits not only fits in with Wall Street's culture, it also reflects general attitudes of the rich, according to a recent study. Research found wealthy people were more likely to act unethically compared to the less fortunate, and even more likely to steal candy from children. It also found that the wealthy engaged in unethical behavior at work more often than poorer workers.

Theft at the workplace is hardly uncommon, however. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 75 percent of employees steal from work in some way. Scamming increased vacation time is an especially popular tactic, particularly among school workers. Since 2010, there have been at least two cases where an employee faked the death of a relative for some extra days off.

But employees steal from each other, too: 100 percent of workers polled in a recent study said that at one time or another they had stolen a co-workers pen, with 22 percent saying they did so on purpose. While that's surely an exaggeration, it should make you more fearful of the pen-snatchers around you.

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