What would you do if $3 million was accidentally deposited into your account?
Would you contact the bank to let them know, or be tempted to go on a shopping spree?
When a student was faced with this dilemma in Australia, she’s alleged to have opted for the latter.
Back in 2016, Christine Jiaxin Lee was charged with fraud after she allegedly went on a shopping spree with $3 million a bank had deposited in her account by mistake.
The then-21-year-old’s extravagant purchases included designer handbags, clothes, jewelry, mobile phones and a vacuum cleaner.
She was soon a regular at some of the world’s most luxurious design houses including Chanel, Cartier and Christian Dior.
She also lived in a lavish penthouse apartment.
The error was picked up by the bank in April 2015 – almost a year after Lee started spending up large.
A senior manager from the bank phoned her, demanding she explain where the missing millions were.
Lee said she believed the money had been transferred into her account by her parents.
That old chestnut…
Finding out the police were trying to contact her, Lee allegedly arranged for an emergency Malaysian passport so she could leave the country undetected.
But it didn’t quite go according to plan, as the young student was arrested at a Sydney airport trying to board a flight to Malaysia.
Lee faced charges of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
But her lawyer Hugo Alston told a court in Sydney that although his client had been dishonest, she had not commited any deception because the error had come from the bank.
Prosecutors ended up dropping the charges against Lee in 2017, though they didn’t give a reason why.
“She has returned to Malaysia with her family and is happy to be getting back to her normal life,” Lee’s lawyer told the BBC at the time.
He also said most designer and high ticket items purchased by Lee had been seized and returned.
So, there you have it – crime doesn’t pay.