Malaysian woman arrested in Australia for spending RM13.8mil mistakenly transferred to her by bank

Christine Jiaxin Lee was arrested for allegedly spending A$4.6mil (RM13.8mil) which was mistakenly given to her by a bank. Photo: Social Media

PETALING JAYA: A 21-year-old Malaysian woman was arrested Wednesday in Australia for allegedly spending A$4.6mil (RM13.8mil) which was mistakenly given to her by a bank.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Christine Jiaxin Lee was trying to board a flight back to Malaysia when she was arrested at Sydney Airport.

Lee has been charged in an Australian court with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of the crime after Westpac Bank had accidentally given her credit on her bank account in the form of an unlimited overdraft in August 2012.

The police prosecutor also told the Waverley Local Court that of the A$4.6mil (RM13.8mil), A$3.3mil (RM9.9mil) had not been recovered.

The chemical engineering student, who has been living in Australia for the past five years, went on shopping spree for luxury handbags and shoes even though Westpac and the police made numerous attempts to contact her.

It is learnt that Lee did not return any of the bank’s phone calls or emails.

In court, magistrate Lisa Stapleton is reported to have, however, questioned whether Lee had broken the law, as the money which she used was technically given to her and she took advantage of it.

“She didn’t take it from them. They gave it to her,” Stapleton said, adding that if it was the case, she would owe the bank the money which she had spent.

The court also said that the investigations into the fraud was started in 2012 but an arrest warrant was only issued in March 4 this year.

Lee was denied bail.

The case will continue on June 21.


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