Bankers Trust Corp.'s guilty plea on federal fraud charges last week culminated a five-year saga that began as a response by rogue employees to earnings pressure from the embattled company's top management.

Court filings and internal bank documents provide an in-depth look at how a small group of workers diverted $19.1 million of clients' unclaimed money into the bank's own accounts from 1994 to 1996. The aim was to inflate the financial performance of their unit-client processing services- at a time when Bankers Trust was counting on it for one-third of its earnings.

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