In 1980, several Hutton branches wrote checks which were greater than the cash they had on hand at the bank, then making a deposit in another bank equal to the amount it wrote at the first bank. This strategy, known as “chaining”, is a form of check fraud. “Chaining” gave Hutton use of money in both accounts until the checks cleared. In effect, Hutton was giving itself a free loan that didn’t carry any interest. Hutton pleaded guilty to 2000 counts of mail and wire fraud. This led to customers pulling their accounts with Hutton, and many of the star performers left for other firms.