When Westpac, an Australian bank, gave New Zealand service station owner Hui “Leo” Gao an accidental $10 million dollar bank error, he thought he was rich. He took $6.8 million of it, moved it into various banks and casinos, then hit the road. Even with police looking for him, he managed to evade capture for two and a half years before he was finally corralled by Interpol. The news made Hui Gao and his girlfriend Kara Hurring international sensations. Well, as it turns out, incredibly grand theft comes with a price. Accidental millionaire Hui Gao plead guilty to 7 counts of theft.
Leo Gao was trying to get overdraft protection for his BP station, which he co-owned with his mother. When a bank error turned $100,000 into $10,000,000 by mistake, Gao did what just about anyone else would do: he took the money out of his account, moved it to various other bank accounts, and left the country to live like a king and hit up the casinos. In 2011, he was found by Interpol in Hong Kong and arrested. I imagine that was a pretty sweet two years on the run, what with all the money he had to spend. Now he’s facing the repercussions of his theft. Sentencing will take place August 24.
The bank has recovered about $2.9 million dollars from various New Zealand bank accounts possessed by the couple; the bank is currently trying to get back the remaining $3.8 million as we speak. Yeah, good luck with that.
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