Anyone who keeps money in the bank knows that there different types of checking accounts. One offers this type of perk, the other comes with that feature. One of the common offerings from banks is something called “overdraft protection.” You spend more than you actually have in the account, and the bank covers the charge. For a nice fee, of course.
So consider the case of an Australian man named Luke Moore. Gizmodo says that in March of 2010, he was, as many of us have been, a “broke college student on government benefits,” and applied at his bank, St. George, for an enticing “Complete Freedom Account” that came with overdraft coverage. The bank calls it “A great everyday account packed full of features. Open one in just three minutes!” In Moore’s case, it was packed with a lot more than that.
Gizmodo says that in no time, Moore ran up $9,000 in overdraft charges. Ooops. He soon noticed that the bank never stopped him from taking out cash. He never hit the proverbial paywall. So in the true style of Robin Leach’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” — he got busy. Gizmodo says that he traveled all over, and bought exotic cars like an Aston Martin, a Maserati, and … a Hyundai.
Speed boats, a signed Michael Jordan jersey, and Banksy art were also on the shopping list among other items, along with regular mundane things like, oh, insurance and the mortgage.
Moore’s life-in-the-very-fast-lane adventure eventually ended after the bank woke up and noticed the error. The New York Post says the total tab was $1.5 million (AU $2.1 million). Gizmodo reports that he was sentenced to “a maximum of four and half years for obtaining financial advantage by deception and three years for dealing with proceeds of crime, to be served concurrently.”
Despite all this, Moore only spent five months in jail. Why? An appeals court overturned his conviction on December 1, saying that he had not been intentionally (the key word here) deceptive when making the withdrawals. The Post adds that, in an ironic postscript, “He is now broke and living with his mother in Goulburn, New South Wales, ironically while studying to become a criminal lawyer.”