A Pennsylvania couple is accused of blowing through $120,000 on a lavish spending spree after their bank mistakenly deposited the money, intended for another account, into theirs, The Williamsport Sun Gazette reports.
In the game Monopoly, when there's a bank error in your favor, you collect $200. In the real world, there's no such thing as a bank error in your favor. There are bank errors, but they're temporary and they're later corrected, and treating the bank error as a windfall on your end is a crime, as Robert Williams and his wife, Tiffany, are finding out the hard way.
Back in June, an employee at the Williams' bank, BB&T Bank, erroneously credited $120,000, intended for a business account, into the Williams' joint account.
It would be about two and a half weeks before the bank discovered the error and moved to reverse it. By that time, according to police, the couple had spent all but about $10,000 of the money. They put a down-payment on a new car. They purchased a camper and a racecar. They gave $15,000 to friends and family members who were down on their luck, according to police.
When the bank reversed the mistake, the Williams' account, which had had just over $1,100 before the mistake, was now overdrawn by $107,416."[Tiffany Williams] told the bank her husband had spent a great portion of the funds and purchased a four-wheeler. She said she would speak to her husband and attempt to construct a repayment agreement," according to police.
Unfortunately for the couple, that's not going to be good enough, and the pair have now both been charged with felony charges of theft and receiving stolen property. They've each been released on $25,000 bail.
As it turns out, the Williams' aren't alone: stories of people getting unexpected windfalls in their bank account, and then blowing the money, hit the news pretty regularly. All of them end the same way, however, with the bank fixing the error and the "lucky" account-holder behind bars.
For example, as Ft. Myers, Florida's WBBH-TV reported at the time, back in 2014 Chase Bank accidentally deposited $13,000 into a man's account. The man later went on a spending spree, blowing thousands on textbooks and electronics, before the bank realized their mistake.
And in a reverse of this problem, an Australian man was on the hook for a four-digit transaction fee, and interest, after a bar charged him $68,000 for a $6.80 bottle of beer. As reported by The Inquisitr, the bar and the bank resolved to work things out, but due to the realities of international five-digit bank transfers, the process was going to take several days.
If you notice more money in your bank account than you expected, or a deposit you don't recognize, call you bank immediately, writes Katrina Gutierrez in Get.com. While it may be tempting to thank fate for you extraordinary luck, the reality is that someone made a mistake and it will be caught, and if you spend the money, you'll be left holding the bag, in an almost literal sense.