back to article Aussie scam artist rides bank computer glitch to $9m overdraft

After a computer glitch allowed him to overdraw almost $9m from his bank account, an Australian man has refused to return the pilfered funds, arguing that he will soon be dead. Between June 2005 and January 2006, Victor Ollis wrote check after check for money he didn't really have, scamming the Westpac bank out of AU$11m, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    scam... incorrect. There's no scam here - he honestly overdrew his own account. There's nothing wrong or illegal about that, the bank obviously set him up with a ridiculously high overdraft limit (perhaps they added a zero by mistake?)

    I'm sure he can delay the repayments by more than 2 years, should his "condition" be genuine - if not, declaration of bankrupcy perhaps?

  2. SpitefulGOD

    The underdog rises!!!

    Banks and the Taxman, the two biggest set of bastards there is, "good on ya mate!"

  3. James Condron

    re scam

    Not his money, whether accident or not he owes the money back- if your job over pays you and you spend the money its your theft apparently. I'd assume that applies to overdrafts

  4. Chris

    Rather die first

    The bank should grant him his wish and kill him. A hit can probably be ordered for somewhere around $10k or less. Probably cheaper than paying lawyers until he dies of natural causes.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More details on the case, and what he did with the money ...

    More detail on the case here:,23599,22277675-2,00.html


    He gave away 4.8 Million AU$ to his female partner, who is defending the case on grounds that she believed the money provided by Ollis was legitimately his.

  6. Brian Hall

    Good work if you can get it.

    Ironically, just under the dateline a little El Reg ad link:

    "Find your perfect job - click here from thousands of tech vacancies"

    Withdrawing millions from a bank account; I can do that!

  7. Brian Hall



    the bank would have had to add more than one zero to his OD limit to get that high; I'm thinking more like 7 or 8 of them!

    Brian H

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bankrupt Bank

    It was the Bank's mistake in permitting this massive OD, so it is not theft, nor a scam. He wrote a cheque (or several cheques) and the bank honoured it!

    However he does owe the money but the interest seems to be a bit excessive so the court was wrong in that regard.

    Maybe if he doesn't pay, declares bankruptcy and the worst the bank can do is sue him as he didn't steal the money but borrowed it.

    SpitefulGOD is right banks and the taxman are both the least deserving legalised thieves there are.

  9. Alan Donaly

    Making mistakes

    we make mistakes we have to pay for them, they make mistakes we have to pay for them, they loan someone too much we have to bail out the bank not the shlub who got the loan and now has no money and no place to live seems like they get breaks and we get broken I hope they never see a dime.

  10. Dougal


    Check? CHECK!?

    What ever happened to Cheques....?

  11. Outcast



    Victor Ollis wrote check after check for money he didn't really have,



    Australia uses BRITISH spelling. It's Cheque, NOT check.

    They say ARSE not Ass and they use "S" not "z" in words.

    Shame on you !!



  12. Mike

    Make him pay!

    'Good on ya mate' for stealing from everyone else?! Don't think for a minute that the bank will be the one that takes the loss. It will be all of their other customers. This is the same mentality that thinks going into the shop and stealing something only hurts the retailer...oh, wonder why their prices went up?

  13. Lee Sexton

    Isnt there....

    A law like over here where the bank has 6 months to notice the mistake and then the money is yours? I think it's in this country that rule applies, if the bank overpays you by an amount and only notice it after 6 months then legally they can do nothing about it. Might be wrong....

  14. Anton Ivanov

    Reading too much HTG

    He has obviously been reading "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" one time too many. He should be aware that the taxman and the bank may hire a medium to communicate with him while he is dead for accounting reasons (and 11M will not get him a good specialist in irrational math).

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just go banco!

    If he has any sense, he'll get what cash remains into some safe place, and declare himself bankrupt. Give him a year and he should be released from the terms of his bankrupcy and free to start over again. Best not to even worry too much about it, if you haven't got it, theres little they can do to get it back. The trick is of course to make sure that you haven't got it, at least on paper ;)

  16. Graham Marsden

    @Lee Sexton

    > Might be wrong....

    Sorry, but you are. The money never "becomes yours" and if you spend the money it's classed as Theft.

    See for some more details.

  17. Paul

    RE: Isnt there....

    I think you are thinking of statute barred, which means that if someone dose not take any action on a debt owed for 6 YEARS then they cannot collect it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data Protection

    If the error is made when transfering funds between two banks, the claim that the funds were not received can be made. The sending bank is limited by data protection from accessing the data at your bank that shows whether the funds were received and your bank is limited by data protection from giving this information to the sending bank. The sending bank would have to start a prosecution to confirm if you have received the money into your account.

    (It also helps if the receiving bank's customer service department is so inept as to be unable to read thier own statements propoerly and write to the issuing bank stating that the funds weren't received.)


  19. Daniel Ballado-Torres


    Isn't that Spanish? ;)

    IIRC, banks that SNAFU on deposits, for example, later "correct" the situation by disappearing the offending transaction. In case you have withdrawn the money, then you would automatically would be incurring in an overdraft. Which is not the same as stealing, though...

  20. Pascal Monett Silver badge


    The bank made the mistake of honoring the checks (it may be cheque in Australia, but I'm not in Australia). If this guy really croaks it in two years, well there really isn't much that the bank can do, now is there ?

    The legal process will take more than that, with a little help from the defense lawyer, so once he's pushing daisies they can indeed all choke on the debt.

    He may be a thief, but only because the bank let him become one in the first place. I say he's right. He should blow it all on having a good time before he departs. After all, it's not his fault that nobody checked the accounting properly. It's the banks responsibility to ensure that the funds are available, and refuse any checks that are not properly funded. They didn't do their job, no use to come whining now.

    Of course, if perchance this guy doesn't pass away in the next 24 months, but lives on to the ripe old age of a hundred and ten, well this problem sure won't go away by itself.

    I think this is the perfect definition of being between a rock and a hard place.

  21. David Benoit


    Us canuks still call 'em cheques :) Irks me to see "check" used in the same context.

  22. Kamal Hashmi

    Re: Speeeling

    By Outcast:

    "They say ARSE not Ass and they use "S" not "z" in words."

    Hmm. Be that as it may but we used to use "z" in Britain (50+ years ago) and slowly switched after we discovered the Americal civil service used "z" as well - obviously they're American so they must be wrong? Unfortunately, the rest of the US used "s" then and they've now switched to "z" to follow their official.

    A good example of .... social psychology? :-)

    P.S. Apparently the same is true of "connection" and "connexion".

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: cheque vs check

    By Cade Metz in San Francisco

    Seems to me he's right in his spelling for his locale.

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