back to article NZ couple do bunk with £3.9m bank error

New Zealand police have asked Interpol to help them apprehend a couple who did a bunk with an unspecified percentage of a NZ$10m (£3.9m) bank error. The unnamed couple, believed to have run a Rotorua service station before taking the money and running, applied for a NZ$10,000 loan with Oz bank Westpac, which generously decided …


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  1. SuperTim

    Good on 'em.

    I know it's illegal to take money out of your own bank account that has been put there in error, but i cant help cheering the quick thinking of these guys. I doubt they will get far though, as the police would rather apprehend these white collar criminals than rapists and murderers....

  2. Ferry Boat

    Best of luck

    Although it's a crime, you've got to wish them the best. Victimless crime because banks are not victims. They are the favoured weapon of the capitalist controllers. Hope they make it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To Brazil!

    Lets hope they have gone to a country with no extradition rules! Lets face it, if they have been sensible enough to leave the country I highly doubt they have gone to a country which would just deport them right away.

  4. david

    Monopoly... error in your favour collect £3.9m

    <sarcasm>You'd think the banks would be a bit more careful with their customers money</sarcasm>

  5. Charles Calthrop
    Thumb Up

    a title is required - why?

    Good luck to them. I know it's wrong and all that ethical bollocks, but good luck to them all teh same

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good on 'em.

    Well of course stealing rich peoples money is a very serious crime (and they have the power to give the police allot of greif) and no doubt they will be looked for very hard, far more than if a rapist had skipped the country.

  7. DirkGently

    RE: Good on 'em

    You won't mind paying extra bank charges to help cover the bank's loss then.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No punishment for the bank?

    So the bank puts incredible temptation in the way of this couple, ruining their lives, and gets no punishment?

    I feel that the couple shouldn't be punished very harshly. But I suspect they'll end up with long custodial sentences.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    I hope they never find them, sorry no feeling for the banks or governments these days.

    They take our money then flaunt it in our faces with all the coruption, at least these people had the good sense to take the money and run.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They are thifes. Pure and simple. Please grow up, and stop reading the daliy fail.

  11. Andy ORourke

    I always wonder.......

    How differently my life would have turned out if I transferred the 12.5 Million Deutche Marks that were mistakenly credited to my german bank in the 80's while I was serving in Germany instead of going into the branch and telling them of the error (I did get a nice "Danke Schon" from the manager though!)

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Best of luck

    I hope its a very long time before they are caught.

    That amount of cash should buy a couple of fake passports and grease a few palms in the right country

  13. Joel
    IT Angle

    Bank Error In Your Favour Collect $10000000

    These guys are totally going to win Monopoly.

    On the legality of it, surely Monopoly is in fault here, because they encourage.... no instruct you to take the money from bank errors.

  14. David Hicks


    "You won't mind paying extra bank charges to help cover the bank's loss then."

    At the moment, as a taxpayer, I'm doing this for miserable failures of banks that I don't even have an account with.

    So yeah, hope they ran to somewhere in South America that has no extradition rules and lots of carnivals!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Why Illegal?

    I fail to see why this sort of thing should be illegal.

    If the bank had sent the money to you. Error or not It should be yours. For which they coul argue with you on it.

    But it shouldnt be illegal.

    Damn Banks ruining the world.

  16. Shane McCarrick

    @ Andy

    @ Andy- I had a similar (though much smaller) incident in Bank of Ireland 20 years ago (1999). I asked for small denomination French Franc bills- 10,000 in total. The cashier fed a wad of notes into the bill counter and put the bills in an envelope. It was only 2 weeks later in Le Havre that I discovered that only the first few bills were 50 Franc notes.......

    When I got home there was a letter waiting from me from the bank- advising me they had taken disciplinary action against the staff member, and would be grateful if I would return the money- or else it was coming out of her salary.

    Them were the days...... I gave the money back. The staff member gave me a bottle of whiskey as a thankyou. That was the nicest bottle of whiskey I ever got (and the most expensive........ even if it was only a 12 year old bottle of Jameson)

  17. SuperTim

    @ AC 9.29

    That's right, they are thifes..... dirty, no-good thifes.....

    Now, stop mashing the keyboard with your fists and get back to your porn!

  18. Lionel Baden

    if I asked somebody for £100

    and that random somebody gave it to me

    I didnt steal it !

    now if they lied on their loan application then thats different !

    GL and HF

  19. Andus McCoatover

    Happened to me

    About 25 years ago, I sold my flat for about 18 grand (oh, those were the days) , and bought a house. Lloyds was both my bank, and my mortgage lender.

    Being a weekend, I drove with my wife to her parents in Norfolk. Went to cash machine - looked at the money - was £182-something. I thought "that's daft- I just got paid".

    Nope. Wasn't £180. It was £18,000+my salary. Stupid bunnies had put the transfer money in my current account.

    Took a couple of weeks to get Lloyds to sort it. At least they repaid the 'lost' interest.

  20. Sam Liddicott

    My bank wont save my errors

    My bank reminds me on it's online transfer page that if I transfer money to the wrong account, that they can't get it back.

    So this seems a bit bizarre, if the banks do expect to get it back.

    Or perhaps it's only their mistakes that are covered...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "You won't mind paying extra bank charges to help cover the bank's loss then."

    Westpac made £1.9 billion last year.

    As one of their shareholders, I think they should wear it for making such a monumental cockup.

    Paris because... never mind.

  22. A Marsh


    This happens so rarely it should be treated as a lottery win. Good on 'em -hope they make it!

  23. Greg


    " You won't mind paying extra bank charges to help cover the bank's loss then."

    Because £3.9m is soooo much to this lot. Phht, their execs probably get bigger bonuses.

  24. Oliver
    Thumb Up

    "...what real harm have we done?"

    As Professor Marcos (Alec Guiness) in The Lady-killers says "It's only a farthing on all the policies".

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good on them...

    ...the dirty thifes, I bet they read the daliy fail too. ;)

    I sincerely hope the banks don't recover any more of this. It was probably stolen in the first place.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's because the money *is* the execs bonuses that they are so adamant to get the spoils back.

    21st Century Monopoly is probably more like:

    echo "Bank error in your favour. Collect " . $bank_cockup_value;

    if ($client_takes($bank_cockup_value,$client)) {




  27. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Bobbie sue, whoa, whoa, she slipped away


    Billy joe caught up to her the very next day

    They got the money, hey

    You know they got away

    They headed down south and theyre still running today

    Singin go on take the money and run

    Go on take the money and run

    Go on take the money and run

    Go on take the money and run

    Go on take the money and run

    Go on take the money and run

    Go on take the money and run

    Go on take the money and run

  28. IcerG

    hypothetically speaking...

    if your bank deposits 3.9 million in to your account by accident, could you then transfer it to another savings account, wait for the bank to get in touch a few days/weeks later, transfer the money back when they ask for it (after 4 working days). Then keep any interest accrued

  29. floweracre
    Paris Hilton

    Banks are just crooked

    Several years ago I withdrew £200 from a cash machine in a pub. It payed out £170 and stopped. I immediatly told the pub landlady who washed her hands quickly of it.

    I called the bank, they said they would check the machine. I heard nothing.

    After half a dozen letter to them I got a letter back saying that no error had been found on that machine.

    I had 3 accounts with them and a mortgage and had backed with them for 20 odd years.

    They was no way they were going to give me my money (obvisouly they took £200 from my account!).

    I wrote to the area manager and conceeded, there was no way I could "prove" this error, but I asked him to consider my following question and respond. Then I would drop the claim.

    I asked him why, when I had a current account, mortgage, savings account, house insurance - together worth many thousands of pounds and since I earned a decent salary - although not enough to happily say bye to £30 - why I would try and fiddle the bank out of £30? Surely if I was going to fiddle, I'd have gone for mor ethan £30.

    I heard nothing but did get the £30.

    Sharks.... BE CAREFUL

    Why the Icon - I bet she never makes unwanted withdrawals

  30. Solomon Grundy

    Too Bad

    They should get to keep the money.

    As noted earlier, my bank says that if I transfer money to the wrong account they can't get it back. Who gets the windfall if I make a mistake?

    Banks are thieves.

  31. Danny

    Carpe Pecuniam

    I know a doley who found a sack load of cash, £10k, after someones bank raid. He handed it in, was thanked, and is now a totally broken man. If that ever happens to me at the very least I'll open it up, throw it in the air and roll about in it for a while.

  32. Tom


    thanks for the tip......

  33. Cameron Colley

    I, too, wish them well.

    For those calling them thieves -- if someone gives you money for no reason how is that theft? This will have no effect on the bank's customers as they're already been screwed as hard as local law and the laws against cartels will allow.

    I don't know bout Australia, but here in the UK banks care so little for their customers that they don't check the signature on cheques and are pushing to make the blame for failures in their chip and pin and other systems onto the customer. They are also the same banks that routinely charge disproportionate fees and amounts when customer go overdrawn -- something which has been frowned upon in civilised society since 700CE or before.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When this sort of thing happens, it's usually helpfull to think of it the other way round so, imagine if you will:

    You accidentally pay a company more money that you owe them for a service. They take your money and refuse to give it back. Are they in the right? You made a mistake, you should pay for it.

    Obviously this is clearly wrong, it is therefore also wrong for someone to rip off a company who have accidentally given them money.

    Please can everyone think just a little bit before spewing "good on 'em" comments. They have clearly stolen the money and know that they are in the wrong, you should too.

  35. DirkGently

    Banks are businesses too

    Yes I know that £3.9m is nothing to a bank, but they will make sure it's the customers that pay out to correct the bottom line. I'd have tried to move the money into an interest paying account and waited until they asked for it back.

  36. mike2R

    Yes it's criminal

    And the fact that they did a runner shows they know that very well...

    But.. sod it, good on them! Maybe if they can stay free for a while they'll get enough material together to make most of it back by selling the film rights.

  37. Reid Malenfant

    Law of the jungle?

    Should I infer from these comments then that, in so far as crime is concerned, action and intent becomes irrelevant if we collectively don't like the aggrieved?

    Interesting ..........

  38. Steven
    Paris Hilton


    Nope, companies aren't allowed to keep cash you overpay in error. Though they may charge a reasonable handling fee to return it.

    Paris, because even she has got more sense than you lot.

  39. Kieron McCann

    @ AC 9:29

    "They are thifes. Pure and simple. Please grow up, and stop reading the daliy fail."

    one assumes that you read publications with larger typeface, judging by your spelling.

  40. Juan Inamillion

    So, to recap...

    Of course it's morally wrong to keep monies you're not entitled to.

    So on that basis Fred Goodwin, who will receive a £16 million pension, should do what exactly?

    Thought so....

  41. Francis Vaughan

    Being a bit boring but....

    If you pay the wrong amount of money to another account, or pay the wrong account, the person/company that got the extra money has to give it back. What the banks say is that they won't get it back for you. Which, if you think about it, is actually reasonable. The banks most certainly have the capability to reverse a transfer (although if it went between banks it is messy) but the last thing you want is the bank allowing people to reverse transfers on request.

    It is the same mess that cancelling cheques gets you into. It isn't the banks job to go after your mistakes, but far more importantly, it isn't the banks role to provide an easy mechanism to allow less scrupulous people to reverse any transfers they make after the fact. This would eventually force the bank to act as arbiters in disputes. That isn't their job.

    Of course if the money that moves by mistake is the bank's own, they will move it back. But here they are one of the parties of the transaction, not the mediator.

  42. Matthew
    Thumb Up

    good on them

    Yet another reason not to be with westpac. They are in china now apparantly, still with 6 of the $10m. Wish them well lol

  43. adrian sietsma

    but wait...

    Surely they haven't committed a crime until / unless they refuse to return the money.

    They don't know it was an error (cough cough) until the bank asks for the money back; they are just on holiday (indefinitely).

  44. steogede

    My solution

    If the bank can charge you £50 for going a couple of quid over your agreed overdraft (in the UK atleast), I don't see why the couple in question shouldn't be able to charge a 1 percent handling fee.

    I can't decide whether they did the right thing or not. Personally I wouldn't be able to sleep at night but I don't agree with the statement that they are stealing from other customers. If the bank were to mistakenly make an unwise investment, are companies that they invest in stealing from the bank? This won't affect customers unless it is a very small bank, it will come out of any profit, which will first affect the share holders. It might mean that in future they will need to offer worse rates, but the customers can just go elsewhere for the most part - there aren't many banks (especially these days), but there are more than one.

    BTW, I can't see that they would have been able to have withdrawn much of this as cash (notice that the amount taken is undisclosed).

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Pratt by name......

    Pratt by nature?

    Randy Pratt?

    C'mon El Reg- that's a joke name, right - like biggus dickus?

    Paris because she knows all the joke names.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    @Steven - That was exactly my point. And I don't know about where you are but I regularly overpay my gas/leccy as I'm on a fixed standing order and they pay me back with no charge PDQ as well.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Act of GOD?

    I would count this as an act of GOD and they should keep the money.

    Everyone should have an escape plan for this kind of event!

    If I had found several million in my bank account I would it around the world so many times it would make you dizzy trying to follow it, then I would be on the next plane to South America!

    Mi casa es muy grande!

  48. Nordrick Framelhammer

    I wonder...

    Just how many people commenting here would feel the same way if they made a mistake in overpaying something by 1,000% and then have the payee to give them the middle finger.

    I suspect most of them would be screaming and pounding the payee's door, bleating away on talkback radio and writing whining posts to every toilet pape^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Htabloid they could think of, blathering on about how evil the payee was for not returning the money.

    Fucking hypocrites.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More local news!

    I wonder if it has occurred to the bank to check on how the error came to be made, and to perhaps look for links between that and the beneficiaries? It seems that they had a reasonable amount of time between the error and the bank noticing, and it would seem that it would be hard to pull this kind of thing off unless you had a fair idea of what you could get away with. Not much use arriving in Brazil and finding that the transactions have all been reversed so you have no money after all. A bit risky trying to get it in cash, that would raise a few alarms I think. Anyway a suitcase full of NZ pesos would not be much use anywhere else in the world.

    Anyway the ones who have done the runner are the two guys who were partners in the failed petrol station, the girlfriend of one of the guys has been found still in the country and appears to be not involved. The bank has managed to claw back NZ$4,000,000, about NZ$6,000,000 is still missing.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I bank with Westpac and am hoping for a similar deposit into my account!

    Honestly though - I do hope they get caught. The error was a human one and it is obvious that this money doesn't belong to the garage owners but to the bank.

    If I were still in the UK and NatWest had done this I would say that I hoped that the "customer" got away with it. But I'm not - I'm in NZ so I feel sorry for the bank. Funny how having friendly bank staff and excellent customer services puts you onto the bank's side!

  51. elderlybloke

    It was here

    in New Zealand that these entrepreneurs accepted the gift from Westpac.

    How dare Cameron Colley say it was Australia, they couldn't pull off a trick (I mean manage to do this business deal) .

  52. Dan P
    Thumb Down

    Why is it...

    Why is it that the bankers can take home millions of their customers' money in bonuses and pensions and the like when they aren't doing the job they're being paid for (isn't that called stealing?), and yet when THEY screw up and give someone who isn't a banker a similar amount of cash, it's the customer that gets arrested and sent to prison?

    Sod that! Good luck to them, I hope they find somewhere nice to settle down with their millions and live a happy and undetected rest of their lives!

  53. Ascylto

    I know where they are ...

    and I'll let the bank know for, shall we say, £1,000,000?

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Simple really

    Officers: "Ok Sunshine (and Mrs Sunshine) you're nicked"

    Reprobates: "Officer, we made a mistake, and we are truly sorry. We understand how angry everyone is that the system allowed us to do this, so we have repaid the money. When we read in the papers how badly we had behaved we immediately sacked our gardener, can we go now please?"

    Mine's the one on my second hook in my constituency.

  55. Dave Cheetham

    Poetic Justice

    Maybe they could become MPs cause they can steal our money and not get prosecuted. Oh no, I see the difference, "they weren't acting within the rules".

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Couldn't help myself...

    I guess not all Kiwis are flightless.

  57. Rob


    Definition of Theft


    1.the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny. instance of this.

    3.Archaic. something stolen.

    Definition of Wrongful


    1.unjust or unfair: a wrongful act; a wrongful charge.

    2.having no legal right; unlawful: The court ruled it was a wrongful diversion of trust income.

    So still not entirely clear, but I hope they get away with it.

  58. John Stirling

    @I wonder... etc...

    In answer to all those 'how would you feel if you overpaid..' comments. It has happened to me, and the police were utterly uninterested (it's a civil matter sir - you sent it, not theft). Correct, it's still my money, but getting it back is a bugger, and is most definitely civil. Why when it's the bank that is the 'self harming' party is it a criminal matter?

    The reason there are so many 'good on em' comments is because the banks, despite being the economically more powerful entity in every transaction they engage in with a customer (rather than a counter party) are the one with greater protection.

    As regards extra bank charges - my bank makes 14B per annum, and rights off 8B for crappy investments. I could probably afford a 0.05% increase in fees.

    Good on 'em, hope they get away with it.

    Filthy thieves that they are.

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