A Melbourne couple found themselves at the center of a legal battle after accidentally receiving 10.5 million Australian dollars (AUD), or almost $6.6 million, in their bank account. The funds had been transferred by Thevamanogari Manivel to her partner Jatinder Singh's Crypto.com account in May 2021. However, instead of refunding the 100 AUD the couple intended to put in, the exchange mistakenly sent 10.5 million AUD to Manivel's bank account.
Unaware of the mistake, the couple allegedly went on a wild spending spree, buying four houses, vehicles, and other items. They even sent around 4 million AUD to a Malaysian bank account. One of the houses, a five-bedroom property worth 1.35 million AUD, has been ordered by the court to be sold and the funds returned.
The mistake was only discovered in December 2021 during the exchange's annual audit. After filing a lawsuit, the exchange won the case in the Victoria Supreme Court, with the judge ruling that the funds should be returned. However, the couple had already spent a significant portion of the money by then.
In court, the couple argued that they believed they had won a prize from Crypto.com. Singh claimed that he had received a notification about a competition from the company in the past. However, Crypto.com's compliance officer, Michi Chan Fores, denied the existence of such a competition and stated that the exchange did not send such notifications to its users. The couple's defense was met with skepticism.
Manivel, who was charged with theft, recently pleaded guilty to recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime. In September 2023, she was sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order, including six months of intensive compliance and unpaid community work. She had already spent 209 days in custody. Meanwhile, Singh is scheduled to face a plea trial on October 23.
The case serves as a cautionary reminder to always double-check financial transactions and to be wary of unexpected windfalls.
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