Author Topic: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error  (Read 12431 times)

PDXTabs

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #50 on: September 11, 2019, 12:00:54 PM »
But on the other hand, I'm a bit incredulous that the bank can transfer money to them and then if they spend it, get felony charges.

Right? If the cops did this it would be called it entrapment.

Wrong. Entrapment requires intention toward the enablement of a crime. If the cops accidentally dropped a key of yay-yo, someone picked it up and started selling it, and then was busted when the cops caught him on a security camera grabbing the yay-yo and then had an undercover agent purchase from the same individual, this is in no way entrapment.

Entrapment: In criminal law, entrapment is a practice whereby a law enforcement agent or agent of the state induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely or unwilling to commit. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrapment

Are you saying that the bank, by transferring the money into their account, didn't induce them to commit a crime that they would have otherwise been unlikely to commit? Because as far as I can tell that is exactly what they did.

PDXTabs

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #51 on: September 11, 2019, 12:09:17 PM »
Why do you think theft should be a civil matter only? Aside from the fact that it's obviously a criminal offence, there needs to be a deterrent effect so that other criminals don't try this, hoping to either not get caught, or get caught at a stage when they know they have no ability to ever repay the funds.

I'm tired of people trying to justify blatant criminality. The bank is the victim. If this crime were not prosecuted, all of our bank shares would go down just a tiny bit - we would all be victims.

Because:
  • It was a business relationship gone bad. The business relationship was negotiated at arms length with a contract and I see no reason not to let civil law resolve this contract dispute.
  • The bank shareholders stand the best chance of recovering their money through civil channels. If you send these people to prison they aren't going to have jobs to pay back any settlement.
  • Prison costs taxpayers money. You are increasing the taxpayer burden while decreasing the likelihood that the bank ever sees their money by branding these people as felons.

To put it another way: why wouldn't you want to let the civil system, where no taxpayer money is at risk, handle this?

Boofinator

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #52 on: September 11, 2019, 12:19:09 PM »
But on the other hand, I'm a bit incredulous that the bank can transfer money to them and then if they spend it, get felony charges.

Right? If the cops did this it would be called it entrapment.

Wrong. Entrapment requires intention toward the enablement of a crime. If the cops accidentally dropped a key of yay-yo, someone picked it up and started selling it, and then was busted when the cops caught him on a security camera grabbing the yay-yo and then had an undercover agent purchase from the same individual, this is in no way entrapment.

Entrapment: In criminal law, entrapment is a practice whereby a law enforcement agent or agent of the state induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely or unwilling to commit. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrapment

Are you saying that the bank, by transferring the money into their account, didn't induce them to commit a crime that they would have otherwise been unlikely to commit? Because as far as I can tell that is exactly what they did.

induce: 1. to lead or move by influence or persuasion - The American Heritage Dictionary

https://www.justice.gov/jm/criminal-resource-manual-645-entrapment-elements:

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A valid entrapment defense has two related elements: (1) government inducement of the crime, and (2) the defendant's lack of predisposition to engage in the criminal conduct....

Inducement is the threshold issue in the entrapment defense. Mere solicitation to commit a crime is not inducement. Sorrells v. United States, 287 U.S. 435, 451 (1932). Nor does the government's use of artifice, stratagem, pretense, or deceit establish inducement. Id. at 441. Rather, inducement requires a showing of at least persuasion or mild coercion, United States v. Nations, 764 F.2d 1073, 1080 (5th Cir. 1985); pleas based on need, sympathy, or friendship, ibid.; or extraordinary promises of the sort "that would blind the ordinary person to his legal duties," United States v. Evans, 924 F.2d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1991). See also United States v. Kelly, 748 F.2d 691, 698 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (inducement shown only if government's behavior was such that "a law-abiding citizen's will to obey the law could have been overborne"); United States v. Johnson, 872 F.2d 612, 620 (5th Cir. 1989) (inducement shown if government created "a substantial risk that an offense would be committed by a person other than one ready to commit it").

Even if inducement has been shown, a finding of predisposition is fatal to an entrapment defense. The predisposition inquiry focuses upon whether the defendant "was an unwary innocent or, instead, an unwary criminal who readily availed himself of the opportunity to perpetrate the crime." Mathews, 485 U.S. at 63. Thus, predisposition should not be confused with intent or mens rea: a person may have the requisite intent to commit the crime, yet be entrapped. Also, predisposition may exist even in the absence of prior criminal involvement: "the ready commission of the criminal act," such as where a defendant promptly accepts an undercover agent's offer of an opportunity to buy or sell drugs, may itself establish predisposition.

partdopy

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #53 on: September 11, 2019, 12:44:58 PM »
How is it different then if a visitor left their wallet on your coffee table, then you took all the money and spent it?  Technically, they did leave the money in your house, right?

If someone sent me a letter with money in it into my mailbox (instead of my neighbors) then yeah, I'd be a little inclined to say the sender had some responsibility in putting it into the wrong mailbox.

Then charge me with a felony.

This couple clearly was wrong for spending the money. But acting as if a bank has zero responsibility for their side of the mistake seems... wrong. For me, seeing that the couple is charged with a felony indicates that the bank (and law...) feels no responsibility rests with the bank for the problem.

'The Bank' isn't an entity that can make mistakes.  Individual tellers and administrative employees can.  The banks responsibility in this case is to ensure the mistake made by its employee is fixed, not ensure they only employ those who are 100% perfect and incapable of mistakes.

PDXTabs

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #54 on: September 11, 2019, 12:45:45 PM »
induce: 1. to lead or move by influence or persuasion - The American Heritage Dictionary

induce: to call forth or bring about by influence or stimulation - Merriam Webster

I am aware that in far too many cases the police are allowed to legally entrap people and get a legal conviction.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #55 on: September 11, 2019, 04:26:43 PM »
But on the other hand, I'm a bit incredulous that the bank can transfer money to them and then if they spend it, get felony charges.

Right? If the cops did this it would be called it entrapment.

Wrong. Entrapment requires intention toward the enablement of a crime. If the cops accidentally dropped a key of yay-yo, someone picked it up and started selling it, and then was busted when the cops caught him on a security camera grabbing the yay-yo and then had an undercover agent purchase from the same individual, this is in no way entrapment.

Entrapment: In criminal law, entrapment is a practice whereby a law enforcement agent or agent of the state induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely or unwilling to commit. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrapment

Are you saying that the bank, by transferring the money into their account, didn't induce them to commit a crime that they would have otherwise been unlikely to commit? Because as far as I can tell that is exactly what they did.

Agreed-- that is exactly what the bank did. However, a bank is neither a law enforcement agent nor an agent of the state. It's generally a corporation of some kind.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #56 on: September 11, 2019, 05:43:35 PM »
Why do you think theft should be a civil matter only? Aside from the fact that it's obviously a criminal offence, there needs to be a deterrent effect so that other criminals don't try this, hoping to either not get caught, or get caught at a stage when they know they have no ability to ever repay the funds.
There's actually a lot of research out there that shows that harsh punishment of criminals isn't a very effective deterrent to crime. Without getting too far off topic, capital punishment is a fine example since the United States has had it on the books for centuries but there isn't any real evidence that it prevents the crimes that capital punishment is prescribed for. It certainly didn't deter Nathan Hale for example.

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I'm tired of people trying to justify blatant criminality. The bank is the victim.
At the risk of getting into "victim shaming" the bank is a victim due to their own incompetence. It's generally accepted that while pacing your self at risk for a crime doesn't excuse that crime taking place, but failing to take appropriate precautions does result in mitigating circumstances. For example, my insurance company isn't going to cover theft if I drive to the bad part of time and leave the unlocked with the keys on the driver seat overnight.

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If this crime were not prosecuted, all of our bank shares would go down just a tiny bit - we would all be victims.
Pff! I suggest you don't buy any shares of stock in banks. At most banks this is basically a rounding error and most annual reports don't even go into that level of detail. Traders have caused banks to lose more money through bad transactions and at worse. Hell, Bruno Iksil didn't face any charges for losing $2 billion and that rippled through the global economy.

You are victim shaming, simple as that. It is true that your insurer won't pay out if you leave your car door unlocked and someone goes in and steals the car. But that is a civil matter between you and your insurer. It doesn't change the fact that someone committed a crime in stealing your car. It doesn't mean police won't prosecute the car thief. Your own carelessness is perhaps relevant to a civil suit but it doesn't change the nature of the criminal act.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #57 on: September 11, 2019, 05:51:09 PM »
Why do you think theft should be a civil matter only? Aside from the fact that it's obviously a criminal offence, there needs to be a deterrent effect so that other criminals don't try this, hoping to either not get caught, or get caught at a stage when they know they have no ability to ever repay the funds.

I'm tired of people trying to justify blatant criminality. The bank is the victim. If this crime were not prosecuted, all of our bank shares would go down just a tiny bit - we would all be victims.

Because:
  • It was a business relationship gone bad. The business relationship was negotiated at arms length with a contract and I see no reason not to let civil law resolve this contract dispute.
  • The bank shareholders stand the best chance of recovering their money through civil channels. If you send these people to prison they aren't going to have jobs to pay back any settlement.
  • Prison costs taxpayers money. You are increasing the taxpayer burden while decreasing the likelihood that the bank ever sees their money by branding these people as felons.

To put it another way: why wouldn't you want to let the civil system, where no taxpayer money is at risk, handle this?

No, it wasn't a business relationship gone bad. Knowingly using money that is not your own is theft, plain and simple. You can try to justify it all you want. Next time you mistakenly send someone an email with confidential information and that person then exploits it, would you say it was just a business relationship gone bad? That by having some form of social or business connection with a person, all mistakes become exploitable? That's not how it works, at law, or morally. You do not have the right to exploit an obvious mistake in most cases. That is both a civil wrong and potentially a crime.

You can steal from a faceless corporation just the same as stealing directly from someone else's account. The fact that the damage is dispersed throughout a large entity does not make it any less, or more, a theft.

As I said before, if you are worried about how much it will cost to incarcerate them, take it up with whoever deals with that. It has no bearing on whether they committed a crime.

It's not for me to justify why theft should not be seen as a civil offence. Besides the bleeding obvious, the fact is if we let these crooks off easy, imagine how many other destitute people would try to scam banks, knowing that they would bear no criminal repercussions.

While you're at it, maybe make DUI a civil matter as well. It's just a misunderstanding between the driver and the liquor store after all.

PDXTabs

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #58 on: September 11, 2019, 06:01:15 PM »
While you're at it, maybe make DUI a civil matter as well. It's just a misunderstanding between the driver and the liquor store after all.

Straw man much?

Dicey

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #59 on: September 11, 2019, 06:54:09 PM »
I thought of this story quite a bit this week. We sold a house, which closed on Monday. We were expecting a check for about 3.5 times as much to show up. When it didn't, we idly speculated about where it might have been deposited in error and if so, what that party might have thought/done. The money showed up the next day. Interestingly, the bank did not put a hold on it, so I suspect the fuck-up was something internal on their part.

Yup, the people in this story are idiots. They could have taken screen shots and used them as savings goals, but now they're looking at jail time at worst and legal bills they can't afford at best. Sheesh.

Seadog

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #60 on: September 14, 2019, 09:04:44 PM »
I'm also on the fence here, and think the bank should at least shoulder some of the responsibility. This is because you'd think the bank should have procedures in place so that this doesn't happen, and when it does, is it obviously an error(because it shouldn't be possible), or is it found money?

What if you live alone, and one day $100 just materialized on your coffee table? Is it yours? We had a kayak materialize at our cottage years ago. Do we keep it? We left it out locked up with a note for the summer, then afterwards figured it was ours.

Hundreds of years ago army recruiters used to slip large coins into prospective recruits drinks when their back was turned. Once they finished them, the drinkers would smile at their good fortune that someone dropped money in their cup, and spend it. After the money was gone, the recruiter would admit his ruse, demand to be repaid, and if they couldn't they would be forced into service.

Same thing here. You have the smart and powerful, people who should know better, either intentionally or unintentionally baiting people who don't. Then when they take it, say "Ah-Ha! I got you good you fucker!" and demand their pound of flesh.

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #61 on: September 16, 2019, 10:50:37 AM »
I'm not on the fence.

If you find a $5 bill on the street, I think everyone is in agreement it is yours to keep. 

If you find an envelope containing $10,000, I'd hope everyone would be in agreement that it's your duty to find the rightful owner.

The bank teller screwed up, yes.  But the culpability for the crime lies solely with the people who thought it was theirs to keep.

Samuel

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #62 on: September 16, 2019, 01:03:45 PM »
I'm not on the fence either. The couple made no effort to contact the bank to alert them to the obvious error, then ducked every attempt by the bank to contact them about it and resolve the problem. That's why the bank turned to the criminal justice system. This is totally a crime, and it's one the couple had several opportunities to keep from being prosecuted for.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 01:20:46 PM by Samuel »

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #63 on: September 17, 2019, 02:04:35 AM »
I'm not on the fence either. The couple made no effort to contact the bank to alert them to the obvious error, then ducked every attempt by the bank to contact them about it and resolve the problem. That's why the bank turned to the criminal justice system. This is totally a crime, and it's one the couple had several opportunities to keep from being prosecuted for.

Also, it's not like it's difficult to contact the bank to report unexpected funds, nor is there any lack of understanding among the general public that just because money is wrongly transferred into your account, doesn't mean it's yours to keep.

I'm flabbergasted that people actually are defending the criminals here.

I think some people just don't like big banks/big business - but that's like defending a shoplifter by saying "oh, Walmart shouldn't have left its store unattended. Anyway it doesn't matter they make enough money as it is."

Wrenchturner

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #64 on: September 17, 2019, 10:44:37 AM »
This wasn't money left on the street.  It was handed to the wrong people.  Bank should eat half the loss as a learning experience.

GatorNation

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #65 on: September 17, 2019, 08:02:23 PM »
Not entrapment.

I'm attorney and routinely practice criminal law.

Anyone saying otherwise is being silly.

PDXTabs

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #66 on: September 17, 2019, 08:38:33 PM »
Not entrapment.

I'm attorney and routinely practice criminal law.

Anyone saying otherwise is being silly.

So in your professional opinion, if the FBI were to leave $120K in my living room having entered my home without my knowledge under U.S.C. § 3103a(b) would they be able to charge me with felony theft?

What if I spent the money, knowing that it wasn't "mine?"

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #67 on: September 18, 2019, 07:15:46 AM »


I'm flabbergasted that people actually are defending the criminals here.


Me too.

charis

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #68 on: September 18, 2019, 07:34:55 AM »
Not entrapment.

I'm attorney and routinely practice criminal law.

Anyone saying otherwise is being silly.

So in your professional opinion, if the FBI were to leave $120K in my living room having entered my home without my knowledge under U.S.C. § 3103a(b) would they be able to charge me with felony theft?

What if I spent the money, knowing that it wasn't "mine?"

Not entrapment but I think that if anyone finds 120K of someone else's money, whether on the ground or in their own home, and they spend it, that constitutes a theft crime.   Assuming that you know that you are not the owner, if you spend it, you are intentionally depriving the owner of his or her property.  I don't think the fact that you don't know the identity of the owner changes the equation.   

You could argue that you believed yourself to be the most recent owner of the money because it was abandoned by the original owner, but it's not plausible in this situation.  For a twenty on the sidewalk, sure, but not 120K in your living room, or your bank account.  If I have a party and find a diamond ring in my couch the next day and go pawn it for cash without making any effort to find the owner first, theft. 
« Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 09:28:59 PM by charis »

Boofinator

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #69 on: September 18, 2019, 07:55:10 AM »
Not entrapment.

I'm attorney and routinely practice criminal law.

Anyone saying otherwise is being silly.

So in your professional opinion, if the FBI were to leave $120K in my living room having entered my home without my knowledge under U.S.C. § 3103a(b) would they be able to charge me with felony theft?

What if I spent the money, knowing that it wasn't "mine?"

I don't even know how to respond to such statements, they are so far removed from the actual case.

1) Nobody entered anybody's living room. That would be felony breaking and entering.
2) When you invest your money with a bank, you sign a contract with the bank. You agree that the bank is free to use that money, until you request it back, at which time the bank is required to return your money plus interest.
3) If there is a bank error, in either direction, the contract you have signed with the bank, as well as the associated laws, require that the error needs to be corrected.

So the better contrast would be if the bank accidentally debited you $120k. When you realize the mistake and ask for your money back, the bank apologizes and says that they've spent the money, but maybe we can split it halfsies? (Note that this isn't too far from reality prior to FDIC insurance for the banks.)

There's an old saying that applies here: Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #70 on: September 18, 2019, 03:12:34 PM »
Boof, that's a great analogy. Imagine if the bank accidentally debited the amount, and spent it on payroll. Oops. Contractual issue. Both parties at fault. Stupid you for agreeing to convert your expensive gold into ones and zeros! Okay, let's call it even, we'll reimburse you $60k, and you can amortise the $60k loss over the other transactions you'll make over the rest of your life. Civil disagreements happen.

Oh wait, suddenly everyone now feels bad for the little guy.

The reality is, the only reason why anyone in this thread is seeking to exonerate the criminals is because they don't like the practices of the banks. This is like trying to excuse shoplifters because Walmart is a shitty corporate being. None of that is relevant.

I'm so glad I live in a society where theft is punished. If you want to make $120k, get a degree and make it the proper way. It shouldn't take you very long. Not as long as a jail sentence anyway.

Dicey

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #71 on: September 18, 2019, 04:04:32 PM »
Boof, that's a great analogy. Imagine if the bank accidentally debited the amount, and spent it on payroll. Oops. Contractual issue. Both parties at fault. Stupid you for agreeing to convert your expensive gold into ones and zeros! Okay, let's call it even, we'll reimburse you $60k, and you can amortise the $60k loss over the other transactions you'll make over the rest of your life. Civil disagreements happen.

Oh wait, suddenly everyone now feels bad for the little guy.

The reality is, the only reason why anyone in this thread is seeking to exonerate the criminals is because they don't like the practices of the banks. This is like trying to excuse shoplifters because Walmart is a shitty corporate being. None of that is relevant.

I'm so glad I live in a society where theft is punished. If you want to make $120k, get a degree and make it the proper way. It shouldn't take you very long. Not as long as a jail sentence anyway.
Gotta say I love the way you think, and completely agree with you, Bloop Bloop!

gooki

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #72 on: September 22, 2019, 04:18:23 AM »
Quote
So the better contrast would be if the bank accidentally debited you $120k. When you realize the mistake and ask for your money back, the bank apologizes and says that they've spent the money, but maybe we can split it halfsies? (Note that this isn't too far from reality prior to FDIC insurance for the banks.)

The better contrast would be if you made a typo on the account number when making an online payment, would the bank reverse the transfer after x days?

My 2 cents would be they’d tell you there’s nothing they can do as the money is no longer in their system.

scottish

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #73 on: September 22, 2019, 03:08:58 PM »
I've been on the other side of this story during a corporate relocation.

The corporation purchased our house after we had an executed contract to sell it.   The idea was that they would take over the sale and make the funds available to us immediately to use for our house in the new location.

The wire transfer for $192K went missing for about a week.   What a stressful situation.    The corporate droid in the relocation group didn't know how to trace the transfer.  I refused to release the property to the corporation without the funds.  Eventually our bank manager found it - it had been sent to the wrong branch and was sitting in their holding account.

In the end, our bank took responsibility and compensated us with interest at their current hisa rate, whatever that was at the time.  (This was around 2000 so, it wasn't 1.5%)

I have no sympathy at all for someone who finds a $120K "windfall" in their bank account and spends it.   That $120K is *missing* from somebody's finances.


DadJokes

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #74 on: September 22, 2019, 04:32:54 PM »
Love your signature @scottish

BTDretire

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #75 on: September 23, 2019, 03:32:36 PM »
It was “bad legal advice”.

https://kdvr.com/2019/09/10/couple-accused-of-shopping-spree-after-120k-bank-error-we-took-some-bad-legal-advice/?fbclid=IwAR29dPu-NISO3DKnOykY5pkYf7bGoBmQJ8RELXI2VwMpUsLBc1PHtuLrkGw


It is written as if the got legal advice from a layman.
"we took some bad legal advice from some people"
 I would think "some people" would have been "a lawyer", if it had been a lawyer.
Maybe it was a neighbor that wanted him gone. "ya bro, once they put it in your account, it's all yours, and tax free too!"

ender

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #76 on: September 23, 2019, 03:51:08 PM »
It's interesting here to look at parallels between receiving unsolicited mail packages, where you become the owner. Only if the package says a different address is it theft.

With deposits, it's not a clear parallel, because you don't have as obvious a "mail label" as you do with packages. I suppose you could argue whether account numbers count for this or not, though it's much more of a stretch than with physical packages.

Wrenchturner

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #77 on: September 23, 2019, 04:30:20 PM »
The reason I think the bank should eat some of the loss is because they were negligent with a large sum of money.  Insurance regularly differentiates between gross/simple negligence, how is this any different?

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #78 on: September 23, 2019, 05:49:26 PM »
It wasn't "the bank" making an error, it was a teller who mis-keyed an account number.  We're all human.

$120k showed up in someone's account.  There is NOTHING to justify these people spending this money.  They absolutely knew it wasn't theirs yet they spent it anyway, as fast as they could.  No mistake there.

They are 100% culpable for the theft and 100% obligated to return the money. 

I still don't understand how anyone here can disagree.


Wrenchturner

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #79 on: September 23, 2019, 06:31:49 PM »
It wasn't "the bank" making an error, it was a teller who mis-keyed an account number.  We're all human.

$120k showed up in someone's account.  There is NOTHING to justify these people spending this money.  They absolutely knew it wasn't theirs yet they spent it anyway, as fast as they could.  No mistake there.

They are 100% culpable for the theft and 100% obligated to return the money. 

I still don't understand how anyone here can disagree.

I still don't understand how this is theft.  Immoral and foolish?  Probably.  But a third party(the bank) gave them money they shouldn't have.  This third party is fundamentally culpable.  These people didn't steal from the first party.  I see it as an escrow gone wrong.  I'm sure the law disagrees but the bank definitely is partly liable; they're the ones that screwed up after all.  The people that received the money did absolutely nothing wrong in receiving this transfer.  What they did with it afterward is-in part-a separate matter.

Edit: the bank has a duty of care.  An analogy:  I work on RVs.  If I do a gas leak test incorrectly on a new, sold RV, and the RV burns to the ground and kills a family, I cannot fall back on the manufacturer and declare myself absolved of the liability despite the fact that the manufacturer built an RV with a gas leak.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2019, 06:38:30 PM by Wrenchturner »

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #80 on: September 24, 2019, 12:34:43 AM »
I am trying to imagine how I think I would probably behave, if I was the recipient of $120 in my account.

Me: Oh, hi! There's an extra $120k in my account, and I actually noticed. I didn't put it there. You should probably contact my co-worker, whose credit union account it probably came from. We're both shareholders, and I wouldn't want to actually inconvenience a colleague.

Them: Huh?

Me: I do want the interest on whatever number of days it was in my account. It's fair that you should just kind of eat that, even if it's at the expense of the shareholders. Be less stupid next time, and exercise reasonable oversight over what your tellers do. Or pay them better and expect them to fuck up less often.

I like to think that this is how it would go, except possibly for the "Huh?" part. But frankly, unless the oversight coincided with an automatic monthly statement, I probably wouldn't notice the extra money in the first place. Massive deposits don't trigger an E-mail notification, so excess money could be in there for weeks without me noticing. I suppose that if there were an overdraft, they'd tell me. But an extra deposit? Probably not.

Do each of you, personally, have a way to notice if six figures of extra greenbacks are dumped into your account?

I go now to check  my account balance. You should, too. I'm now tempted to go try to prove a negative.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #81 on: September 24, 2019, 06:19:16 AM »
Wrenchturner: if your boss gave you a cheque meant for your co-worker, and you knew it wasn't yours (perhaps you didn't know which exact co-worker it belonged to, but it clearly wasn't your salary) and you cashed the cheque anyway, you would be culpable.

Yes, your boss is negligent in the sense that he or she negligently/recklessly (presumably not intentionally, though) handed a cheque to the wrong person without doing the proper checks.

However, you have intentionally, knowingly, cashed the cheque and spent it. You knew it wasn't yours. It wasn't a question of "maybe this is the pay cheque I am owed from last week." So your culpability is greater. Because you have intentionally tried to derive a financial benefit from a mistake, in a way where the benefit (spending the money) will necessarily deprive someone of the rightful use - whether that is the boss (bank) or the co-worker (the rightful account-holder), you don't know or care, but that doesn't lessen your culpability.

You could only try to avoid the moral/criminal culpability element if you pretended that the money did not belong to anyone - if it had no proper destination.

Another analogy: a truck with cartons of cigarettes makes a mistake by over-shooting a roundabout and crashes near your front lawn. You take the cigarettes and sell them. It was the truck driver's negligence which caused the crash which caused you to have access to the cigarettes. However, that doesn't mean that you taking the cigarettes isn't theft.

partgypsy

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #82 on: September 24, 2019, 10:46:40 AM »
So I know personally what is my money and what is not, and  I would have not spent the money. But - two and a half weeks went by where the bank did not alert them or fix the error. Like Milky stated in his defense, what exactly is fraud, if the people have money in their account and spend it. It Was an error, but it wasn't like they held up a bank or performed some kind of cyber fraud to get the money. While I do think it is federally prosecutable as theft, I think the bank should have worked with them to recover the money, not charge overdfar fees and have them arrested in a perp walk.
The Milky case isn't the same as it was with this couple. You might want to go back and read that article again since the key detail was that Milky was over-drafting his account and the bank kept approving the overdrafts. Effectively they gave him an unlimited line of credit with full transparency of his debts, which is what his legal case rested upon.

The think I don't get about the Milky case, is that his criminal case was dismissed because he did not steal or do fraud. but wouldn't he still have to pay them back? I don't understand that part of the story. It seems like he would still owe the money, right?

fredbear

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #83 on: September 24, 2019, 12:04:27 PM »
I am trying to imagine how I think I would probably behave, if I was the recipient of $120 in my account.

...
[/quote

Long ago when money was money I discovered an extra $50K in my account.  I wrote the bank (on paper; it was a common substance for communication then) and told them to check my account; it seemed to have much more money in it than my accounting suggested.  They wrote me back a snotgram stating there was nothing wrong with their accounting and my account balance was correct. 

I thought, "With a jury trial a letter from the bank stating my account balance was correct I could probably spend this.  Written permission from the bank itself."

I thought, "It isn't mine."  I left it in there but didn't include it in my accounting.  Months later, at year-end, they sent me a snotgram stating that they had found the money, had taken the money out, it was never mine, and I should never have thought it was. 

I thought, "I didn't.  I never thought it was mine."

I thought, "The gratuitous insult suggests you are assholes."

I wrote them back saying that I didn't really expect much for calling their $50,000 error to their attention (see my letter of ...., copy attached), but I thought they could have come up with something like a nice note to me on the order of "Thanks for bringing this to our attention.  Very honest of you.  Here is a gift certificate for a MacDonalds happy meal, value about 0.0001% of what you saved us."  Of course their flint hearts were proof against my feeble guilt ploy.

A few years later they got involved in funding some very dubious investments made by a municipal pension plan in Kansas.    Very.  One day they were there, and the next day there were canvas banners hiding the name under which they had shamed themselves, and replacing it with the name of the new bank that had crept up amoeba-like on them in the night, extended a pseudopod and phagocytotically absorbed them.  Though our ways had long-since parted, I stopped by to ask a teller to pass the word up to the ex-president, if he stopped in on the way to his trial, that I was glad they were gone.

DadJokes

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #84 on: September 24, 2019, 12:16:28 PM »
I am trying to imagine how I think I would probably behave, if I was the recipient of $120 in my account.

...

Long ago when money was money I discovered an extra $50K in my account.  I wrote the bank (on paper; it was a common substance for communication then) and told them to check my account; it seemed to have much more money in it than my accounting suggested.  They wrote me back a snotgram stating there was nothing wrong with their accounting and my account balance was correct. 

I thought, "With a jury trial a letter from the bank stating my account balance was correct I could probably spend this.  Written permission from the bank itself."

...

I am curious as to whether or not that would hold up in court.

Probably not, but wouldn't that be fun?

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #85 on: September 24, 2019, 12:33:59 PM »
Quote
So the better contrast would be if the bank accidentally debited you $120k. When you realize the mistake and ask for your money back, the bank apologizes and says that they've spent the money, but maybe we can split it halfsies? (Note that this isn't too far from reality prior to FDIC insurance for the banks.)

The better contrast would be if you made a typo on the account number when making an online payment, would the bank reverse the transfer after x days?

My 2 cents would be they’d tell you there’s nothing they can do as the money is no longer in their system.

I would like for someone in the "for sure it's a crime, anyone saying the bank has responsibility is crazy" camp to respond to this analogy. This seems to be the best analogy to convey why the bank has some responsibility. I can only imagine the hassle/fees/etc. that would come with trying to fix something like this, and it seems like a very apt comparison to what the bank actually did. Did the bank offer payment to the couple as compensation for the issue that they caused....I doubt it.

PoutineLover

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #86 on: September 24, 2019, 02:28:43 PM »
Funnily enough, when clients lose money in etransfers, the banks basically say too bad suckers:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/etransfer-fraud-banks-blame-customers-1.5286926

Not saying that I would spend clearly accidentally transferred money, but the bank should definitely take some responsibility for their mistake. They can't have it both ways.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #87 on: September 24, 2019, 02:52:26 PM »
Funnily enough, when clients lose money in etransfers, the banks basically say too bad suckers:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/etransfer-fraud-banks-blame-customers-1.5286926

Not saying that I would spend clearly accidentally transferred money, but the bank should definitely take some responsibility for their mistake. They can't have it both ways.

Right, people keep saying that anyone that thinks the banks have any responsibility are basically saying you're condoning stealing because you don't like the banks. I'm just saying, it's not just because banks are pretty much jerks. It's because when the tables are turned the other way, there's certainly no free, easy reversal much less as if people have any comparable option to criminal charges against the banks for screwing them.

Boofinator

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #88 on: September 24, 2019, 02:55:07 PM »
Actually, the bank would be on the hook for e-transfer fraud, if they were the ones who had screwed up. But in the cases mentioned in the article, it seemed to me that the customers had compromised email accounts or shitty security answers that precipitated the fraud, not the banks.

PoutineLover

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #89 on: September 24, 2019, 03:01:14 PM »
Actually, the bank would be on the hook for e-transfer fraud, if they were the ones who had screwed up. But in the cases mentioned in the article, it seemed to me that the customers had compromised email accounts or shitty security answers that precipitated the fraud, not the banks.
If banks are aware that their security procedures are too weak for normal use, they should change them. There should be a way to track where the money has been deposited (how can they not know that info at least??). When choosing a password, most banks won't allow very weak ones. Can't they apply the same standards to etransfers? I think there's a lot more they could do if they wanted to, but they don't care or have no financial incentive to do anything about it.

scottish

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #90 on: September 24, 2019, 03:37:12 PM »
The etransfers ask for a question, not a password.   Maybe they should switch to passwords?

But then people would just send the password via email.   After all, how else would the recipient know a complicated password?

The banks should really educate people on how this type of fraud occurs, just like people learn not to download and run executables from the web.

Once people understand how the fraud occurs they can learn how to avoid it.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #91 on: September 24, 2019, 03:45:56 PM »
Quote
So the better contrast would be if the bank accidentally debited you $120k. When you realize the mistake and ask for your money back, the bank apologizes and says that they've spent the money, but maybe we can split it halfsies? (Note that this isn't too far from reality prior to FDIC insurance for the banks.)

The better contrast would be if you made a typo on the account number when making an online payment, would the bank reverse the transfer after x days?

My 2 cents would be they’d tell you there’s nothing they can do as the money is no longer in their system.

I would like for someone in the "for sure it's a crime, anyone saying the bank has responsibility is crazy" camp to respond to this analogy. This seems to be the best analogy to convey why the bank has some responsibility. I can only imagine the hassle/fees/etc. that would come with trying to fix something like this, and it seems like a very apt comparison to what the bank actually did. Did the bank offer payment to the couple as compensation for the issue that they caused....I doubt it.

Actually I accidentally transferred $400 to the wrong account once (got a digit wrong) and my bank reversed my transaction for free when I found out after a few days.

The bank's obligation in this instance would be to reverse the transaction, perhaps less a reasonable admin fee (say $25), as long as you could prove that your first transfer was a mistake and there was no dispute on the recipient's end. If the money had been spent on the other end, then the bank would be off the hook but you would have a civil and criminal redress against the other party (though you might never get that money back since most pieces of shit who steal money have no money in the first place).

And, the fact that banks are jerks does not excuse stealing of one person's money by another. In this instance the bank is just an impartial facilitator.

Samuel

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #92 on: September 24, 2019, 03:49:36 PM »
Quote
So the better contrast would be if the bank accidentally debited you $120k. When you realize the mistake and ask for your money back, the bank apologizes and says that they've spent the money, but maybe we can split it halfsies? (Note that this isn't too far from reality prior to FDIC insurance for the banks.)

The better contrast would be if you made a typo on the account number when making an online payment, would the bank reverse the transfer after x days?

My 2 cents would be they’d tell you there’s nothing they can do as the money is no longer in their system.

I would like for someone in the "for sure it's a crime, anyone saying the bank has responsibility is crazy" camp to respond to this analogy. This seems to be the best analogy to convey why the bank has some responsibility. I can only imagine the hassle/fees/etc. that would come with trying to fix something like this, and it seems like a very apt comparison to what the bank actually did. Did the bank offer payment to the couple as compensation for the issue that they caused....I doubt it.

The bank does have some responsibility to the account holder whose money they misdirected. They probably would cover overdraft fees or other damages due to their mistake (although if a home purchase or other deal fell through because of it I imagine that wouldn't be covered).

I don't see what responsibility they have for the couple who ran out and spent money they knew wasn't theirs, that the bank accidentally parked in their account for a period of time. What damages did the couple suffer that deserves compensation?

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #93 on: September 24, 2019, 04:31:34 PM »
Apparently some people in this thread think that a mistake which allows you the opportunity to commit a crime is equally as culpable as the said crime.

Hope they never leave a loaded gun lying around by mistake. If someone shoots them with it they would only wish to apportion it 50/50 responsibility.

Freedom2016

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #94 on: September 24, 2019, 08:57:19 PM »
Did the bank offer payment to the couple as compensation for the issue that they caused....I doubt it.

What on earth for? What earthly inconvenience did this couple suffer by having someone else's money sit in their account? There was a new line of numbers on a screen or piece of paper for a little while. That's it. Did it hurt their eyeballs to look at those unfamiliar numbers? /s

I am just flabbergasted by some of the comments here. The bank made a mistake; the couple committed a crime. The mistake does not justify the crime.

#TeamBloopBloop

[sorry -- that quote incensed me so much that I didn't read the following comments which make the same point]
« Last Edit: September 24, 2019, 09:00:33 PM by Freedom2016 »

Davnasty

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #95 on: September 25, 2019, 09:01:41 AM »
Apparently some people in this thread think that a mistake which allows you the opportunity to commit a crime is equally as culpable as the said crime.

Hope they never leave a loaded gun lying around by mistake. If someone shoots them with it they would only wish to apportion it 50/50 responsibility.

If I recall correctly only one commenter has stated that the responsibility should be equal. Most are simply saying that the bank carries some responsibility, which I agree with. And I don't think anyone has suggested that the couple didn't commit a crime, only that the punishment was irrational and that the steps taken by the bank were not in the bank's best interest if they want to get their money back.

jeff191

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #96 on: September 25, 2019, 09:20:29 AM »
The bank is going to take the loss on this - there's very little chance they will recover much of what has been spent by the couple. It's just going to hit their books as a credit loss as even with a judgement against the couple for the amount, the bank won't collect much if any. That's just how these things always go. Even if the bank split the liability, they're not going to recover half from the couple.

And banks will typically pursue these cases as it sets an example if they do not. You don't want people to think there's a chance the bank won't come after them if they spend the money.

This sort of stuff literally happens all the time, but the vast majority of the time, people are honest and don't spend money that isn't theirs so it doesn't make the news. I've seen instances where mistakes were made with amounts much larger and funds were immediately returned upon discovery.


Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #97 on: September 25, 2019, 10:20:10 AM »
Apparently some people in this thread think that a mistake which allows you the opportunity to commit a crime is equally as culpable as the said crime.

Hope they never leave a loaded gun lying around by mistake. If someone shoots them with it they would only wish to apportion it 50/50 responsibility.

If I recall correctly only one commenter has stated that the responsibility should be equal. Most are simply saying that the bank carries some responsibility, which I agree with. And I don't think anyone has suggested that the couple didn't commit a crime, only that the punishment was irrational and that the steps taken by the bank were not in the bank's best interest if they want to get their money back.

Lol, this is the most angry I've made people on this forum outside of political discussions. It's kind of funny on my end when I'm not really passionate about what I'm saying, just sort of throwing out another perspective. It's really a good lesson for discussions and is reminding me of the importance of actually reading what people say not what I think they're saying and not what maybe one guy said and assuming everyone else thinks that way. It seems (and I may be wrong) that people are getting so angry because they're assuming everyone having any discussion are saying what the couple did was not a crime or that the bank was just as responsible as the couple.

I in no way approved of what they did or said it wasn't a crime. That doesn't mean the playing field is level though. It doesn't mean that people would have anywhere near the level of recourse that the banks have in fixing something, especially if they were the ones who had initially made the mistake like the bank did in this instance. The people in this story were so egregious that they got a thread on here and tons of internet commentary about them - of course they're ridiculous. It doesn't mean that we have to pretend like the bank has 0 responsibility for this. In less ridiculous situations, the uneven playing field would merit further discussion, but it does future conversations a disservice to imply that the bank has 0 responsibility here just because the couple were obviously significantly at fault.

DadJokes

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #98 on: September 25, 2019, 10:33:55 AM »

...

It doesn't mean that we have to pretend like the bank has 0 responsibility for this. In less ridiculous situations, the uneven playing field would merit further discussion, but it does future conversations a disservice to imply that the bank has 0 responsibility here just because the couple were obviously significantly at fault.

I don't think anyone here has said or implied that the bank has zero responsibility.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error
« Reply #99 on: September 25, 2019, 10:53:21 AM »

...

It doesn't mean that we have to pretend like the bank has 0 responsibility for this. In less ridiculous situations, the uneven playing field would merit further discussion, but it does future conversations a disservice to imply that the bank has 0 responsibility here just because the couple were obviously significantly at fault.

I don't think anyone here has said or implied that the bank has zero responsibility.

Lol, touche somewhat :). I would argue that pizzabrewer's comment that "It wasn't "the bank" making an error, it was a teller who mis-keyed an account number." is functionally equivalent to zero responsibility for banks - employees doing something wrong cannot ultimately completely remove responsibility from the employer except maybe in very extreme situations, of which this is not one. Also, my whole commentary on here started because no one was mentioning gooki's analogy which was spot on of comparing responsibility of a person to responsibility of a bank, seeming to me that they didn't think the bank had any responsibility. Additionally, while some have admitted that the bank had responsibility to whoever's money they pulled out to put in the other guy's account, my zero responsibility comment is for the people whose account it's gone into. No one has explicitly said that they have no responsibility to the person whose account they gave the money too, but I feel that there are many comments that I can safely imply from that they're thinking that way. My point is, just because in this case it was obvious - 120k in their bank account, I'm assuming being asked about by the bank to return in a reasonable time - that doesn't mean that it would always be the case. The bank has 100% responsibility for not just taking it out of someone but for putting it into someone else's account. In this case, it was so obvious with insignificant repercussions if the couple had actually  handled it properly that it's obvious the couple bear overwhelming, overall responsibility in the situation for spending the money. In other cases, it wouldn't be as clear. The bank has responsibility to the couple for putting money into their account, not zero responsibility to them. If I'm incorrectly assuming people are thinking that, feel free to correct me.