Woman goes on luxury spending spree after finding £2.6M in her bank account

A student went on a multi-million pound, luxury spending spree after a bank's blunder put $3,000,000 (Roughly AUD $4.6M or £2.6M) in her account.

Christine Jiaxin Lee, a student living in Sydney, Australia claimed she didn’t notice the bank error for more than two years. Once she did she went on a shopping spree – from designer bags to penthouse apartments.

She continued her spree for 11 months in 2016, spending £2.6 million before Westpac bank caught on. The bank then informed the police.

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The then 21-year-old splurged on designer jewellery, clothes and bags. She also spent a small fortune on renting a high-end penthouse apartment in Sydney and moved large sums of money into various other bank accounts.

A warrant was put out for her arrest and her passport was seized. Lee, originally from Malaysia was arrested for fraud while trying to board a flight to Malaysia using an emergency Malaysian passport, the court heard.

It is understood that the money was accidentally offered to Lee through an overdraft facility. It was attached to her Westpac savings account.

In addition to a charge of obtaining financial advantage by deception, she was also charged with knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime. Lee was granted bail on the condition that she report to the police twice a day.

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But her charges were mysteriously dropped in 2017 and then flew home. Authorities managed to reclaim approximately £1m of the stolen funds.

The rest remains unrecovered. It's understood Lee claimed she thought the funds had been sent to her by her parents to help her live while studying as a chemical engineering undergraduate.

Sydney City Police Detective Inspector Sean Heaney urged members of the public who have found money in their accounts that should not be there not to spend the extra cash.

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He said: "Speak to your financial institution, and have the matter rectified, if you fall into the temptation of spending other people's money, you may be committing criminal offences. And it may be a matter of time before the police come knocking on your door.

"The money doesn't belong to you, you know that, don't go spending it, it's going to cause you some trouble with the police. It would be very tempting, a lot of people may succumb to that temptation.

"You should know what's in your account, if you realise there's something that doesn't belong to you, it will be identified, speak to them, do the right thing, and get it cleared up as soon as possible."

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