War Against The Machines: Computers Go After Deceased Woman's $99 Billion To Fund Skynet?

Imagine being overdrawn $99 billion. That is the amount reported in a story by ABC 7 Chicago, overdrawn from a deceased woman's bank account.

Now, $99 billion deposited would be just as suspicious as a negative amount, which is what this story reports.


The woman who discovered the error reached out to eyewitness news either because she could not believe it, or was looking to somehow expose the bank for the problem.

Likely it was both.

Whether the call was necessary or not is surely up for debate, but for $99 billion, there is no way that the bank is going to go as far as to wake up their lawyers to go chase down the amount, as it's not a real number for the majority of Chase bank customers.


Even the greatest bragger of them all, Donald J. Trump, only admits to being worth $10 billion, which many have questioned as well.

The report says that Sheila Henderson's mother passed away last month and she discovered the fluke when she was checking the balance in her mother's account, in order to pay off some of her funeral expenses.

The irony that her now-deceased mom is paying for her own funeral is not lost here.

Chase bank takes 99 billion
All the machines are lined up, ready to give you money, or take 99 billion of it from you. This image is from 2007. [Image by via Flickr |CC BY 2.0]But Sheila is actually listed on the account, apparently as a shared account holder, and was no doubt surprised when the amount was read back to her.

All this story needed was for it to report that the automated voice paused, right before it switched to a more baffled voice to read out, "$99,999,999,545.90 DOLLARS!?!?"

Of course, she called the automated system back to make sure it was right – the baffled voice-over could have saved her the redial – and then she spoke with her brother, who joked with her about why she had been holding out on him the entire time.

But it also seems that the process to go to the eyewitness news department of her local ABC affiliate was the right thing to do, as the media source contacted Chase, to at least go on record as to what they're going to do about it; just in case they're working on getting some attorneys fired up over the weekend.

Chase did respond and say they would work to fix the problem, which is an obvious reaction to an obvious fluke in the computer system.

One has to wonder if this incident is part of our "war against the machines," as it's the effort of a computer system, throwing numbers around in order to fund a real Skynet project, while I'm over here trying to keep my bank account just under the minimum, to prevent Amazon Prime from taking a year's worth of membership payment, I wonder what other similar cases if any, have been reported?

Wall Street trader on the phone during financial crash 2008
Trader Tommy Kalikas works on the NYSE trading floor, Friday June 27, 2008, who is probably yelling, when stocks were slumping in one of the worst years in our nation's financial history. This was perhaps the same feeling when the computer glitch decided to mess with the numbers. [image by Richard Drew | AP Photo]In August of last year, a computer glitch apparently plagued the U.S. Asset-management industry for a handful of days, "as it had caused hundreds of mutual and exchange-traded funds to miscalculate the value of fund assets," according to a report by Wall Street Journal.

On April 10, FOX's WTOV9 reported an incident with a woman who was roughly out $82,000 and $5,000 in overdraft fees, thanks to a computer glitch.

In this case, the victim had it set up where she knows how much she has to pay on a regular basis to various services, and so she has payments automatically withdrawn from her account.

While the report on Sheila Henderson doesn't specify whether there are third parties involved -- which could make up for some of the missing $99 billion, fixing these issues with those parties is not always something banks are willing to take the extra step to do, unless they are at fault, which is clearly the case here.

Despite the amount, Sheila has said that she will continue to hold her bank account with Chase.

[Image by Daniel X. O'Neil via Flickr | CC BY 2.0 ]