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Couple must return $120,000 after bank error prompted spending spree

Oct 27, 2017
3,167
Time to use some more of that money, change your identities and go on the run. Depending on how much they have left there's no way they should give it all back to the bank willingly.
 

Josh5890

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,600
To me the difference is stealing an actual human's hard earned money versus using money that a bank can recoup at will. What they did is wrong, I just don't think they should have their life ruined over this.
LOL no one forced them to buy a Chevy SUV, a camper, a car trailer, a race car and two four-wheelers all in the span of a couple months.
 

Dishwalla

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
8,947
Boise, Idaho
You don’t just get free money because someone screwed up, that’s not how it works. If your employer screws up and pays you extra one pay period you don’t get to keep that extra money, it’s not yours. Your employer will either dock pay from your future checks or ask for the money back outright. The Navy was notorious for this when I was in, and they always said “check your paystubs because if there’s an error it’s on you to report it”. Because when they find out they’ve been paying you more than they should the government don’t hesitate to take it back.
 

sangreal

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,782
but they are bring charged for theft when the bank gave them the money in the first place, they did not take it

returning the money is a different case, but the first part is not the definition of theft
The bank's only mistake was the original accounting error. They're not in trouble for that. They're in trouble for noticing the bank's mistake and using it to take $100k and spend it
 

JDSpades

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,604
I'm genuinely nonplussed at people defending the absolutely, absurdly stupid decision to spend money that wasn't theirs. If I left my wallet at an Applebee's and some fuck took it and went on a shopping spree with my debit card, it would be fucking illegal and stupid. This is the same fucking thing. They got access to funds that they knew weren't theirs and their first instinct was to go buy a bunch of stupid shit with it rather than to call the bank or literally any authority whatsoever to determine if they should, you know, return the misplaced property.
Sure, that would be the smart thing to do. At the same time, I don’t understand people comparing it to a lost credit card. I assume the money was just placed into their account. They didn’t find someone else’s bank details lying around and transfer the funds themselves.
 

Burai

Member
Oct 27, 2017
683
Important detail in the article for the "why are they being punished for the bank's mistake?" crowd.

It took three weeks for the bank, a branch of BB&T, to notice the error by which time about $13,000 was left. The bank told the couple they were responsible for the return of the money.

Tiffany Williams, 35, told bank officials “she would speak to her husband and attempt to construct a repayment agreement”, state trooper Aaron Brown told the Montoursville Sun-Gazette.

In separate interviews with investigators in late July, both Robert Williams, 36, and his wife “admitted to knowing the mislaid money did not belong to them, but they spent it anyway”.

The couple then stopped communicating further with the bank and were later arraigned on felony charges of theft and receiving stolen property.
They weren't in trouble until the woman decided to run away after agreeing to repay the money.
 

pong123

Member
Aug 28, 2019
74
idiots. Can't believe people are so bad with money. Lets just say bank actually gave them free money, the fact they spent all of it shows how stupid they are with money.
 

NoMoreTrolls

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,616
Texas
LOL no one forced them to buy a Chevy SUV, a camper, a car trailer, a race car and two four-wheelers all in the span of a couple months.
"It'S aLL tHe BanK's FAulT”
Sure, that would be the smart thing to do. At the same time, I don’t understand people comparing it to a lost credit card. I assume the money was just placed into their account. They didn’t find someone else’s bank details lying around and transfer the funds themselves.
Why are they not comparable? Say someone leaves their car in your driveway with the keys in it. Is it yours now, "finder's keepers"? Does the world suddenly operate on 3rd grade rules now? In what way is there any expectation that a clerical/technological error should result in a windfall for the recipient of those funds, rather than the injured party reclaiming that lost property once the error has been recognized?
 
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Space Madness

Member
Oct 27, 2017
231
Keeping the money was wrong, but not that bad all things considered. Banks are predatory and also wouldn't feel compelled to give you your money back due to an error of yours if they could get away with it. A shopping spree would be stupid. I like the idea of paying off my debt with it though. That might also be stupid, but it has right amount of irony that I'd be tempted to try.
 

CrankyJay

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,619
And people saying they'd put the money in a money market account wouldn't make much anyway....probably about $200.

The bank found the error after 3 weeks. Even at a generous 2.5% interest rate on 120k that would be $3k a year/12 at $250 a month...

Not worth the potential fallout.
 

scottbeowulf

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,196
It bogles my mind that someone would get $120k dropped in their account and think "cool, I'll spend it all". You've gotta be pretty damn stupid. It would be one thing if they used the money on their sick kid or something. At least then I'd understand. But they bought frivolous stupid shit.
 

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
5,891
Okay, like...how do grown adults not know you can't do that????
 

Dekim

Member
Oct 28, 2017
933
From the story, the second they got this money, they spent it like crazy, buying expensive items and giving money away to friends and family. They are financially incompetent, and they will never be able to pay back that money if this is how they handle money.
 

JDSpades

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,604
Keeping the money was wrong, but not that bad all things considered. Banks are predatory and also wouldn't feel compelled to give you your money back due to an error of yours if they could get away with it. A shopping spree would be stupid. I like the idea of paying off my debt with it though. That might also be stupid, but it has right amount of irony.
This. Banks have done way worse than walk away with $120,000 because of someone else’s mistake. Wells Fargo can create millions of fraudulent accounts and stay in business, but they’ll gladly ruin your life for something like this.
 

bobbychalkers

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,456
I had ~$1000 deposited in my bank account as a kid. I was a goody two shoes and told my mom and returned it the next day.
 

JDSpades

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,604
"It'S aLL tHe BanK's FAulT”
Why are they not comparable? Say someone leaves their car in your driveway with the keys in it. Is it yours now, "finder's keepers"? Does the world suddenly operate on 3rd grade rules now? In what way is there any expectation that a clerical/technological error should result in a windfall for the recipient of those funds, rather than the injured party reclaiming that lost property once the error has been recognized?
Not comparable either. A bank is literally in charge of handling and holding my funds. They’re kind of like a position of authority here.
 

chrisPjelly

Avenger
Oct 29, 2017
6,489
Aside from the money obviously not being legal to spend, I don't understand how someone would look at $120,000 and decide to spend it like fuck-you-money. Buying a racecar, really?
 

Pure Spirit

Member
Jul 7, 2019
29
They knew what they were doing. I don’t know if felony theft is the right charge but they should pay the money back with a penalty. If you found someone else’s debit card with the PIN written on the card and went on a spending spree, well, it’s not that different. The $120k was someone else’s money, and they obviously knew that based on their irresponsible behavior with the money.

Related story: I lost my wallet on a bus once and the person returned it with the cash still inside. I was quite poor at the time so I was immensely grateful.
 

a916

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,978
And people saying they'd put the money in a money market account wouldn't make much anyway....probably about $200.

The bank found the error after 3 weeks. Even at a generous 2.5% interest rate on 120k that would be $3k a year/12 at $250 a month...

Not worth the potential fallout.
You might just be better off telling them and hoping they give you a reward.
 

NoMoreTrolls

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,616
Texas
This. Banks have done way worse than walk away with $120,000 because of someone else’s mistake. Wells Fargo can create millions of fraudulent accounts and stay in business, but they’ll gladly ruin your life for something like this.
Your personal opinion on banks isn't really relevant to how fucking monumentally stupid it was for them to spend money that isn't theirs. I'm still curious how you think it's the bank that is ruining these idiots' lives and not the aforementioned idiots themselves, given that their first instinct was to spend the money like mad, almost like they knew they were in the wrong and wanted to spend it all before the bank realized they had misplaced the money.
 

Space Madness

Member
Oct 27, 2017
231
Now that I think about it, I'd probably fund every urgent life saving medical procedure I could find and maybe pay off my small debt. If I did anything other than return it of course.
 

Trickstah

Member
Sep 16, 2018
198
To me the difference is stealing an actual human's hard earned money versus using money that a bank can recoup at will. What they did is wrong, I just don't think they should have their life ruined over this.
The couple are in their mid 30s. It doesn't take a genius to tell you NOT to spend the money that is NOT yours and was given to you due to a mistake.
 
Oct 25, 2017
15,462
Last year, we received a statement from a charity we donated to showing we gave $150,000. You can knock 3 zeros off that as we weren't even close to donating that much, so I contacted the charity to let them know there was a mistake. They insisted it was correct and it took me 3 or 4 times to get them to send a corrected statement.

Could have cleaned up on my taxes.
 

MIMIC

Member
Dec 18, 2017
3,072
Sure, that would be the smart thing to do. At the same time, I don’t understand people comparing it to a lost credit card. I assume the money was just placed into their account. They didn’t find someone else’s bank details lying around and transfer the funds themselves.
The comparison is receiving something that you know wasn't intended for you. How you came into possession of it is irrelevant.
 

JDSpades

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,604
Your personal opinion on banks isn't really relevant to how fucking monumentally stupid it was for them to spend money that isn't theirs. I'm still curious how you think it's the bank that is ruining these idiots' lives and not the aforementioned idiots themselves, given that their first instinct was to spend the money like mad, almost like they knew they were in the wrong and wanted to spend it all before the bank realized they had misplaced the money.
🤷‍♂️Didn’t we already go over this? It was stupid to spend the money. A felony theft charge for it also sucks.
 

NoMoreTrolls

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,616
Texas
Not comparable either. A bank is literally in charge of handling and holding my funds. They’re kind of like a position of authority here.
You are ultimately the final authority on the disposition of your own money. If you spend money that you know for a fact isn't yours, that is 100% on you. Imagine if the bank was actually "literally in charge of handling your funds," and they blocked you from purchasing goods or withdrawing money as they saw fit. The bank provides a service where they give your money a place to sit, accrue interest, and be employed through digital means across the world through debit transactions. They do not have any significant authority over where and when you spend your money, or the amount of money you can deposit or withdraw (beyond some limited accounts).
🤷‍♂️Didn’t we already go over this? It was stupid to spend the money. A felony theft charge for it also sucks.
It is also 100% the most legally accurate charge for someone that spends $120000 of your money and refuses to return it. The bank would not be bringing these charges if the couple had simply reported the error and returned the money to its rightful owner. What charge do you believe better suits their crime?
 
This was over 5 years ago now but I once got an accidental $20,000 deposit in my bank account that I noticed when I was doing my daily online account checking. After laughing and smiling for a couple minutes and taking a screenshot of the deposit I called my bank asap, asked them why such a large amount of money was deposited in my account, they put me on hold, told me they accidentally deposited that money in to my account and thanked me for letting them know and took it out/sent the money to the proper bank account.

After pondering what person was depositing more then I make in 2 years income wise(it still is btw) in a single transaction I went on my day like nothing happened. The thought about using that money never once occurred to me as I knew it wasn't mine and I wanted to do the right thing and make sure the person got their money back.
 

Armaros

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,383
Its amazing that when it comes to stuff like this, so many people, including poeple in this thread, revert to 3rd grade ideas about ownership.
 

Culex

Member
Oct 29, 2017
759
Man, some in this thread who are OK with this have no moral compass- go fuck yourselves! I bet you’re the type of person who finds a wallet loaded with cash and the persons ID and has fun with it instead of bringing it to the police or trying to contact said person.

Seriously, stop wasting oxygen.

PS- as someone who lost their wallet.
 

Slayven

You probably post about me on another board.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
36,690
Shit no way would i touched that money, I would be scared looking at the statement. Either the bank is going to come look for their money or someone else that might not be as nice.

Last year, we received a statement from a charity we donated to showing we gave $150,000. You can knock 3 zeros off that as we weren't even close to donating that much, so I contacted the charity to let them know there was a mistake. They insisted it was correct and it took me 3 or 4 times to get them to send a corrected statement.

Could have cleaned up on my taxes.
You would have been audited to hell and back
 

digit_zero

Member
Oct 27, 2017
513
I think it’s dumb that they thought spending it was ever a good idea, but uh, even dumber how they thought to spend it?

Pretty much everything they bought quickly depreciates in value, so yeah, they have problems now.
 

JDSpades

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,604
You are ultimately the final authority on the disposition of your own money. If you spend money that you know for a fact isn't yours, that is 100% on you. Imagine if the bank was actually "literally in charge of handling your funds," and they blocked you from purchasing goods or withdrawing money as they saw fit. The bank provides a service where they give your money a place to sit, accrue interest, and be employed through digital means across the world through debit transactions. They do not have any significant authority over where and when you spend your money, or the amount of money you can deposit or withdraw (beyond some limited accounts).

It is also 100% the most legally accurate charge for someone that spends $120000 of your money and refuses to return it. The bank would not be bringing these charges if the couple had simply reported the error and returned the money to its rightful owner. What charge do you believe better suits their crime?
I think a fair comparison would be you paying someone to hold your wallet, and that person gives the money in your wallet to someone else. I wouldn’t be pissed if the person then spent the money, I’d be pissed at the person who was in charge of holding my wallet.
 

Culex

Member
Oct 29, 2017
759
I think a fair comparison would be you paying someone to hold your wallet, and that person gives the money in your wallet to someone else. I wouldn’t be pissed if the person then spent the money, I’d be pissed at the person who was in charge of holding my wallet.
Not a fair comparison. If you have money deposited that is not yours, it’s still not yours. If your employer makes a mistake and deposits an extra paycheck into your bank account, it’s not yours and you damn well better let them know.
 

sersteven

Member
Oct 25, 2017
574
Philadelphia
I do have to say if this ever happened to me but with life changing money (1+ million) I'd probably take it and run.

Would be easy enough to just start life over in another country, and as long as its not in some hundreds of millions range, its not like I'm gonna get hunted down over a rounding error.

Just relocate and start over.
 

Dreamwriter

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,412
I think a fair comparison would be you paying someone to hold your wallet, and that person gives the money in your wallet to someone else. I wouldn’t be pissed if the person then spent the money, I’d be pissed at the person who was in charge of holding my wallet.
A better comparison would be you paying someone to hold your wallet, that person dropping the wallet out of their pocket, and someone else seeing the money drop from the pocket, picking it up and rather than telling the person or giving it back, spending the money. You should be pissed at both parties.