Three years ago, William Burke was happily heading Bank of Ireland's small retail operation in New York City.

The 54-year-old native of Ireland had been recruited by the international bank in 1977, and had been steadily gaining prominence in the local Irish community. He had even been chosen by Irish community group representatives as grand marshal of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in 1988, and was twice named one of the 100 most influential Irish-Americans by Irish America magazine.

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