Author Topic: Bank transfers $120k into couples bank account in error  (Read 4639 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