As millions lost their jobs across the globe in the economic meltdown of 2009, a bank manager from the small Italian town of Forni di Sopra decided he had to aid those impacted by the downturn.
According to court records, Gilberto Baschiera told prosecutors he felt increasingly conflicted about rejecting loan requests from townspeople who were too poor to qualify.
As economic uncertainty and the threat of bankruptcy rippled throughout the country, including in the highest levels of government, Baschiera decided it was time to act.
He conducted a series of bank transactions, moving money from wealthier to poorer clients, in order to help financially-strapped borrowers qualify for loans.
Meanwhile, according to The Washington Post, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi — believed to be worth about $6.8 billion — introduced harsh financial constraints on borrowers to avoid countrywide default.
The ex-leader eventually stepped down amid sex and corruption charges.
Over seven years, Baschiera shuffled around $1.1 million, but the scheme collapsed in 2016 after some borrowers began defaulting on their loans.
Like the fictional English archer who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, Baschiera was hailed as a modern Robin Hood.
And since he didn’t benefit financially from the shadowy system, the first-time offender was able to strike a deal with prosecutors earlier this month that will enable him to stay out of prison.
However, Baschiera lost his home and job in the fallout.