back to article Net closes on NZ bank error fugitives

The New Zealand couple who did a bunk with a sizeable chunk of a NZ$10m overdraft, erroneously provided by Westpac bank, are probably in hiding in Hong Kong, the Telegraph reports. Businessman Leo Gao, 29, girlfriend Kara Hurring, 30, and her seven-year-old daughter Leena wasted no time in fleeing NZ after Westpac accidentally …

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Anonymous Coward

and

and this is why you should disown your families - especially if they are uniquely stupid.

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IT Angle

Use of a computer...?

Um, wouldn't it be the BANK's use of the computer which gave them access to the cash?

Why isn't the bank facing charges in this case? Or, better yet, why aren't they being compelled to swallow the result of THEIR unilateral cockup?

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"theft not appropriate"?

So if theft isn't an appropriate charge, then they haven't stolen anything? in which case, the use of a computer in transferring said not-stolen monies would also not be appropriate.

Seems the NZ police have just admitted that they have no power to either claim the money or prosecute the "offenders"

Whoops!

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Sigh, does no-one have any brains these days?

I'm impressed that they managed to get $3.8m out of the country, but obviously the brains don't run in the family. Undone by their own 21st century nepotism.

I'm waiting for the first person to get done for murder after posting it on their FaceSpaceTwitBook.

"Fred Blog is washing the blood off his hands and disposing of the knife"

It'll happen, I give it about five years.

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Anonymous Coward

Interest

As long as they keep up the interest payments shirley there's very little the authorities can do to them? The bank *gave* them a 10 million dollar overdraft so long as interest payments are maintained then they can't be committing a crime.

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Happy

Monopoly

"Bank error in your favour collect £200."

Take inflation into account and they have done no more than what is encouraged by the worlds most popular board game.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Use of a computer...?

"Or, better yet, why aren't they being compelled to swallow the result of THEIR unilateral cockup?"

If it was the result of an overdraft then the bank is able to claim the money back any time it wants. But I think that should make it a civil matter rather than a criminal one, though I don't know what the laws regarding this are in NZ.

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Anonymous Coward

Three people can keep a secret...

... if two of them are dead.

If you're doing a runner, you don't contact ANYONE you previously knew.

Especially not someone likely to put "becoming a fugitive" as their Facebook status.

Sheesh.

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Stop

I agree with the ACs

The bank granted them the money so can't press theft charges, but they CAN demand it back. And when the couple don't pay THEN the bank's got a problem.

Have they demanded the immediate repayment of the money? And if the couple can't pay, doesn't that just mean they're just declared bankrupt rather than being criminals?

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Gold badge

Depends on their terms of service, I think..

Isn't there that little clause in their accpount that the bank doesn't take responsibility for errors etc etc? Might wotk for once in their favour, methinks..

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First thing

Set up adwords for phrase "I have been given an overdraft of 10 million how do I spend it in Hong Kong" , "how to spend overdraft without cops finding out" and so on. Track all the users who vist your page and book 'em, simple as.

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Gold badge

Bank errors in your favour

In the UK, I believe the law is that you cannot spend funds that were accidentally transferred into your account. If NZ law is similar, then the couple would have to argue that they didn't realise the bank had made a mistake. Given that they fled the country, that isn't going to be terribly convincing. If NZ is not similar, I imagine the banks will start lobbying for it to become so.

To all those who think the law ought to let them get away with it, I have this thought. If you leave a bag in a restaurant and someone else finds it, do you think it is reasonable for them to empty it and claim that "well, you left it in the wrong place and I had access to it so I just did what anyone would do"?

Regarding the "loan versus theft", I imagine if they have spent less than the original 10k that they were granted, they can repay the rest immediately and the loan over the agreed term. However, if they are unable to repay the excess part, they'd be charged with stealing it.

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Bronze badge

If they've managed to now move out of Hong Kong...

What's the betting the moron sister WON'T get in invite to join them in their next stop-off?!!

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Thumb Down

They are idiots

Why didn't they just go to a country which wouldn't deport them? There are plenty to choose from, live a rich couples life. The comment about them wanting to come home and see their family is nonsense! They could pay for their family to come and visit them any time without worry.

An obvious example of people who have ended up with far more money than brain cells, they could easily have gotten away with this for the rest of their lives.

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Anonymous Coward

What would happen

if you spent the money buying shares in the bank?

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Joke

Darwin awards

It's like a whole new branch of the Darwin awards, except for unbelievable stupidity associated with criminal activities. What we need is a catchy name for the awards (like 'Darwin') but deeply reminiscent of both intense single-celled stupidity and quite obviously criminal behaviour.

How about "The Jacqui Smiths"?

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Happy

@AC 15:39 "They are Idiots"

"Why didn't they just go to a country which wouldn't deport them? There are plenty to choose from, live a rich couples life ... An obvious example of people who have ended up with far more money than brain cells, they could easily have gotten away with this for the rest of their lives."

Hong Kong has no extradition agreement with New Zealand.

Perhaps they're slightly smarter than you are.

Check your facts first.

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Happy

*clap clap*

What's the bet the sister won't be on their Christmas card list eh ;-)

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one solution

Ditch the sister and move again. Damn, but sometimes family can REALLY be stupid!

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Thumb Down

Not theirs

In the UK it is theft if you make use of money you could reasonably be expected to know is not yours.

So if the bank gave you 12k instead of 10k you might get away without criminal charges, although you would have to pay it back eventually. However if they give you 10m instead of 10k you have to know this is an error and removing/using the money would be theft.

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Pirate

@Ken

You're more or less right, but the general guiding principle is that you don't necessarily need to pay it back if you can reasonably say you thought it was yours.

So say I get paid my monthly salary twice, in error. If my employer has recently told me that I am due a bonus that is in the close region of my monthly salary, that's legitimate for me to keep and spend until I'm informed otherwise. If they then pay me my bonus on top, that becomes a civil matter between me and my (former) employer.

If, on the other hand, it's just a double payment, it depends on what I and my bank do with it. If my bank returns the money without telling me, then screws me on charges because I'm overdrawn (maybe due to carelessness?), then it's a customer relationship matter between me and them.

If I take out the exact amount and put it in a third party account, in escrow, if you will, I can charge my commercial rate for loss of time dealing with their screw up ( a former colleague did this, quite lucratively), before I agree to pay it back.

For a fraud or theft conviction, though, the bank has to prove that you knew it wasn't due to you and that you were trying to do one with the money, which means that I think that the kiwi couple might be screwed.

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Go

An overdraft is not a bank credit

In the UK I'm pretty sure that there is a difference in law between:

- An accidental credit causing my bank balance being +£10m

- The bank accidentally allowing me an overdraft (I.E. a line of credit) of 'up to' £10m

How many banks last year took out criminal proceedings after someone with an overdraft went bankrupt?

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Paris Hilton

No theft

All they have done is try to do a runner with money they have been lent by their bank.

They've not stolen it, they still owe it, they may have broken the T&C of their account, but as others have said, over here it would be a civil rather than criminal matter.

Not bright guys through (How did they manage to get a 10K overdraft in the first place)

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Thumb Down

Not much

3.8 million NZD is not a lot of money. Living abroad with no income is expensive. Hong Kong is not the cheapest of places to go. They'll run out before they know it. Numpties...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They are idiots

Erm; NZ doesn't have an extradition treaty with Hong Kong. The best that we can do is ask China to pop in, collect them, whizz them across the border and then allow us to start extradition (as we have a treaty with China).

As for the theft charges the overdraft was extended to them, they have spent it. There is no loss until such a time as they can't repay the overdraft. As it is we are in that position as overdrafts are normally repayable on demand and the bank has demanded repayment. All this, however, is a civil matter rather than a criminal one. Bankruptcy is in store for the runaways but it could be that criminal proceedings occur as part of the bankruptcy (NZ bankruptcy law is not as soft as it is around much of the rest of the world).

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That's nothing

Harvey noted that the couple "would most likely (face charges that?) relate to use of a computer because a theft charge would not be applicable"

I didn't realise that using a computer was illegal over here. I'd better go into hiding, I'm due a life lag.

On a related matter re the legality of it all.

The difference between 10,000 and 10,000,000 is just a bunch of zeros. And zero is nothing.

How can they be charged for stealing nothing?

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Silver badge

Good use for the remaining money

Hire a hitman to eliminate the stupid c*nt sister who obviously posted a "I'm just off to visit my outlaw relatives hiding in Hong Kong" status update. Facebook is a site managers should use to find which employees to retrench in a downturn.

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Silver badge
Joke

Family visits?

"The comment about them wanting to come home and see their family is nonsense! They could pay for their family to come and visit them any time without worry."

They let sheep on aircraft these days?

BaaaaAAaaaa

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Anonymous Coward

Ohgodwat

I'd use some of that money to hire someone to get rid of my retarded relative.

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