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Old 05-22-2009, 11:14 AM   #1
jstalin
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The ultimate bank run!



New Zealand couple vanish after bank's 4m mistake

By Kathy Marks, Asia Pacific Correspondent

What would you do if your bank mistakenly paid about 4m into your account? A New Zealand couple allegedly took the money and ran, and are now the subject of an international manhunt.

Leo Gao and Cara Young, who operated a BP petrol station in Rotorua, on the North Island, applied to one of the major banks, Westpac, for a $NZ10,000 (3,940) overdraft. Westpac did more than grant their request: it credited their account with 1,000 times that amount. Mr Gao and Ms Young have now vanished. Police believe they may be in China, having withdrawn up to $6m before leaving New Zealand.

Westpac declined to say much about the case yesterday but confirmed it was "pursuing vigorous criminal and civil action to recover" the money. A spokesman blamed human error, rather than a computer glitch, for the couple's inadvertent windfall, and said, rather ominously, that the bank was "reviewing its procedures". Observers expect heads to roll.

According to neighbours, the petrol station suddenly closed two weeks ago, with stock still on the shelves and a notice on the door stating it was in receivership. Deliveries piled up outside, and people began helping themselves to newspapers and other supplies. The fuel tanks and their contents were removed by BP this week, and the shop is now empty.

The hunt for the accidental millionaires is being led by Interpol, but New Zealand police have been looking for them in China, according to the Rotorua Review newspaper. There are also reports that they may have fled to Korea.

Westpac refused to confirm the size of the sum "mistakenly advanced" to Mr Gao and Ms Young, and police, too, were tight-lipped, saying only that they had received a complaint from the bank and were investigating the whereabouts of a substantial amount of money, which they believed was overseas.

Although it was the bank's fault that the couple became multi-millionaires overnight, they would be committing a crime if they spent money they knew was not theirs, banking experts say. The New Zealand Banking Ombudsman, Liz Brown, told Rotorua's Daily Post that such mistakes did happen occasionally, but they usually involved thousands rather than millions of dollars.

Detective Senior Sergeant David Harvey, who is in charge of the case, said Westpac believed that either theft or fraud had been committed. He confirmed some of the money had been withdrawn from the account, but declined to say how much. "We are currently conducting an investigation into the individuals that may have been involved in the withdrawal of that money," he said.

Claire Matthews, a banking lecturer at New Zealand's Massey University, said the couple were unlikely to get away with their alleged crime. "They've taken funds that they're not entitled to, that are not theirs," she said. "They've effectively, I guess, become thieves." She said it would be difficult for them to argue that they had believed the huge sum was legitimately theirs.

A Westpac spokesman, Craig Dowling, said the bank had recovered some of the money. New Zealand media reported that $4m had been recouped.

Raman Ramschod, the owner of a business in the same block as the petrol station, said that he had had regular dealings with Mr Gao and Ms Young. "I had no problems with them," he said. "They seemed OK to me. He seemed a pleasant person and she was quite nice."

Little is known about the couple's backgrounds, although Ms Young is Australian, according to some reports. Their business had reportedly been struggling, and they applied for the overdraft in an effort to stay afloat. Receivers are examining their records, but they are believed to owe money to creditors.

Rotorua is a popular tourist town, famous for its thermal springs, geysers and hot-mud pools.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...e-1689232.html
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:27 AM   #2
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cant really run anywhere, unless they get some fake Identities and channel that money accordingly.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:01 PM   #3
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didn't read the whole thing but i wouldn't take any of it. i'd call the bank and double check my statement and say that since i reported in if they can give me a reward.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:09 PM   #4
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is your identity worth 10M?

You could spend 1% of that on new passports, id's, etc, for you and your wife. Then have 9.9M$ to start a new life.

i'd do it forsure
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:43 PM   #5
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They won't get very far in my opinion.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:45 PM   #6
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They didn't get $10mil OUT OF THE BANK, the bank refuses to say how much they were able to withdraw.
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:06 PM   #7
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If I had no family and didn't care about my friends, yeah I'd go for it, but it would be like the movie catch me if you can, living on the run with suitcases of cash. Sooner or later they will catch up with you.
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dinan_M5 View Post
If I had no family and didn't care about my friends, yeah I'd go for it, but it would be like the movie catch me if you can, living on the run with suitcases of cash. Sooner or later they will catch up with you.
It's easier to disappear than most people think..
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redster View Post
It's easier to disappear than most people think..
+1

and NOW you're speaking like a true mobster...
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Redster View Post
They didn't get $10mil OUT OF THE BANK, the bank refuses to say how much they were able to withdraw.
"Police believe they may be in China, having withdrawn up to $6m before leaving New Zealand."

You're right... they only managed to withdraw $6 million.

How do you withdraw $6 million dollars without raising any eyebrows? Maybe New Zeland is just laid back like that. Not like there are any ATMs that are that fat with cash.
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:49 PM   #11
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I'd like to know how they physically got the money out of the continent. Must have very deep pockets.
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:51 PM   #12
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Ok, maybe someone can clarify for me because I dont understand:

You wake up with your account at 10 million dollars.
You say okay **** this, Ill start a new life for 10 million dollars.
Lets assume you can get the fake Ids, passports, etc.

First question: How do you get that 10 million dollars withdrawn (or any portion in the millions)?

You cant fly with more then 10,000$ cash on you, unless youre so lucky and dont get searched, but then again were talking millions of dollars, so you cant exactly put that in your wallet.

Next is where did they transfer the money too? The only thing I could think of is that they put the money to a Swiss bank. Okay, slightly believable, but if its stolen funds being moved around dont the banks have leeway to get it back?

Also how did they make the transfer? what u walk into your local branch and say "Ya I want to deposit 4 million dollars into my new acount. I dont think the teller does this for you, I think there might be a special procedure???

anyway lots of questions!!
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:00 PM   #13
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500 Euro bills are currently largest bills (available everywhere unlike $1000 CDN) so 6mil NZ Dollars = 2.6MIL Euros = 5200 500 bills, not THAT much.

If you have money in your account you can go to the bank, say I need $1,000,000 and they'll get it ready for you - it's your money and they want to keep you happy as a customer.

If you transfer money to an international account (off shore) it's still easy to make it untouchable (if you know where you're transferring it, many banks are starting to open up no IRS and similar government agencies).
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