A 21-year-old chemical engineering student from Malaysia has lived a life of luxury after accidentally receiving an unlimited overdraft on her Australian bank account. However, she has finally been found out and has been arrested for using money that was not her own, accessed via the banking glitch.
Christine Jiaxin Lee, who is a student at Sydney University in Australia in her third year of a chemical engineering degree, opened an account with Westpac Bank in 2012. Reportedly, it was only during 2014 and 2015 that she decided to take advantage of the unlimited overdraft the bank had mistakenly given her.
However, the Sydney City Local Area Command’s CBD fraud unit had started their investigation back in 2012 but only issued the warrant for Lee’s arrest relating to the banking glitch on March 4 of this year.
Sydney student who got $4.6 million in a banking glitch arrested at airport https://t.co/GhDOlM5HRG Hilarious story.
— Kas Thomas (@kasthomas) May 6, 2016
According to the International Business Times, Lee reportedly spent around $62,729 per week, living a luxurious lifestyle in a rented sub-penthouse unit in Rhodes with 180-degree panoramic views across to Sydney Harbor. She bought herself the best in designer clothing and handbags and generally had a really good time.
According to a police statement, due to the banking glitch, the student spent around A$4.6 million ($3.4 million) during her spending spree, of which only around $737,000 has so far been recovered.
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Lee was also reportedly clever in her financial transactions, as she allegedly moved around $3,700 a day to other bank accounts not affiliated to Westpac. Due to the small nature of these transfers, the movement of cash raised no flags at the bank. It is believed that a significant portion of the missing millions may have already been moved out of Australia or have alternatively been spent by the student.
— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) May 5, 2016
Police caught up with Lee at Sydney airport last week shortly after she secured an emergency passport to fly back to Malaysia. She has been charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception along with knowingly dealing with the proceeds of the crime.
After living a life of sheer luxury, Lee was charged at the Waverley Local Court recently and was granted bail. Reportedly, her boyfriend, Vincent King (pictured in the tweet below), paid a $737 surety, which, according to Lee’s lawyer, was all that they could afford.
Christine Jiaxin Lee arrested at Sydney Airport after $4.6 million was mistakenly deposited in her Westpac account… https://t.co/oNXqJ7mp1F
— Sydney Update (@SydneyUpdate1) May 6, 2016
However, she might not be in as much trouble as it sounds, as Magistrate Lisa Stapleton reportedly questioned the strength of the prosecution’s case, saying possibly Lee had not committed a crime, as the credit had been made available to her by the bank via a banking glitch. If this is proved to be the case, Lee would then simply owe the money to the bank and would not be guilty of stealing the money or of fraud.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Stapleton said, “It isn’t proceeds of crime. It’s money we all dream of.”
However, while no doubt most people would be tempted by such an opportunity in the event of a banking glitch, few would actually be daring enough to take advantage of the situation. Australian police have warned the public to rather speak up if they notice abnormalities in their banking accounts rather than falling into temptation.