Large Sum of Money Deposited into Account from Unknown Source - Now Police Are Involved

Hi all,

Hoping I can get some advice you can help, a friend had about $7000 deposited into their account earlier this year which was not expected. She decided not to notify anyone and used about $900 of it, but left the remaining amount in her account.

Unfortunately because some of the money was used the bank could not do a reversal (account did not have enough to cover the full amount) and had to send a permission request through to have the funds taken back. She says she never saw this message (even though she confirmed today she sees it in the banking app now) the remaining money has been sitting there for about 6 months.

Now the police are involved and questioned her over this. She admitted the full facts above. After the interview with the police she went straight to the bank afterwards and initiated the process for the bank to recover the full amount (she has all the funds to cover the full amount).

Apparently there is a court date that she has to attend, her head is pretty scattered and can't remember exactly why.

What are the ramifications? She knows she is at fault, has openly admitted it and has started the process to have the funds corrected. Please don't say how stupid she was, because hindsight is a wonderful thing.

What advice would be the best advice? She doesn't have heaps of money for lawyers and all that, she called a lawyer and apparently they wanted like $300 just for consultation.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated or perhaps you have been in a similar situation?


After finding more information out she was charged for using the $900 (which she admitted to do). The police had bank statements.

The account which the money was deposited to was was in an account that didn't get used (like one of these saver accounts).

After the interview she has gone to the bank and had the bank process the reverse with the full amount. However, the court date was set at the police interview… perhaps they will just drop it now its all being sent back?

Just to clarify, it was pretty much just sitting in the bank account for the last several months (minus the $900), my guess is the business who accidentally sent it to her account had raised a police report or something to get the money back after the bank was unsuccessful. So the police are just following their procedures.

She has now spoken to legal aid and has gone to a lawyer…hopefully the case will be dropped.

Thank you everyone for your help and advice, some great information on here.


    • lmao

  • +7

    This is why you should never talk to police.

    • +1

      Yep, the Police will try to obtain the confession/answers they want out of you. They are trained to do that.

      You are better off not talking to them until you have legal representation there to act in your best interest.

    • +4

      Yep. This.

      I've done myself in when I found a phone and thought (stupidly) that finders keepers applied (hint: it's still theft.) I was young and naive and had lost a few phones in my time that never came back.

      Full admissions to the police and I was charged. If I'd kept my mouth shut they wouldn't have had enough evidence to charge me.

      Never. Talk. To. The. Police.

      • +4

        Yeah the old choose between the 'bad' explanation or the 'good' explanation, both of which are still crimes. lol

        "so you stole it out of his bag! … or you just found it on the footpath?"

        No no I didn't steal it! I found it on the footpath.

        Boom - confessed.

        • +1

          "No comment"

        • I found it inside my bag. Thought it was a secret gift from a friend.

  • +5

    Initial advice — actually read what is on the court attendance notice!

    • +1

      Surely there is some information on WHY they need to go to court

    • +1

      Exactly. The summons must list the charges and which court, etc. Probably has phone contact for "further information" too…

  • This is your new story:

    1. You spent the money BEFORE being told it wasn't yours. You thought it was a gift from your uncle / aunt / sugar daddy whatever.

    2. After being told, you were in a position of financial hardship and were worried about not being able to pay it back / you went to pay it back as soon as you heard / were able to.

    Theft requires intent. If there is not intent there is no theft.

    Also: get a lawyer.

    • "When I first told you that I received money I wasn't expecting, what I meant to say is that I was expecting it."

      Yep, should go down a treat.

  • -2

    She will be fine. (according to your details) she did not commit any fraud.

    • This is terrible advice, she received funds that weren't hers, was fully aware of it, spent part of it knowing it wasn't hers, and has made full admissions to the police to this effect.

      She has committed a criminal offence and needs to contact a lawyer.

      • yeah probably - any advice on here will be bad.

        with the only good one being - Contact a lawyer.

    • +1

      Unless you tell investigators in a confession that you knew the money wasn't yours and you spent hundreds of it. The court won't need eyes if they have a confession of guilt.

      • Had to give you a vote to remove the neg, no idea why you were as this is 100% accurate.

  • +1

    years ago, I got $110 deposited in my account from a person whom Ive never heard of,

    I left it in my account for months, and then forgot about it,
    I used to keep all my savings in INGdirect, and keep my balance low in this account,

    no one ever chased it up, however, had the bank tried to reverse it without me knowing , I doubt I would be at court down the track for spending the money

    something else must be going on

  • +1

    seen this on overclockers maybe didn't get the answer op was after

    • Just went to find the thread! haha

  • It is hard to imagine this would be prosecuted criminally.

    But it would be a very good course of action for your friend to find out what the court attendance is for, is it a criminal matter or not, this is not a time to be 'scattered'

    If it is criminal then $300, $3000, or even $30,000 is faaaaar better than a conviction.

    • I just find it amusing to see Walter's face saying this.

  • +3

    You sound like a very kind friend but I would back away from this right now. There is a lot of information missing here - that I think you're not being told either.

    No adult is too 'scattered' to understand why they are missing a court case. That might be what she's telling you, but she's not being honest. She's a grownup, she can contact Legal Aid. And frankly if she'd agreed to repay the money in full, I doubt there is really any need for a court date at all meaning there is more to this. If she is adult enough to spend thousands of dollars that isn't hers, she's adult enough to face the consequences of her decisions. The fact that she's not fully accepting that she's completely in the wrong here is a big problem.

    TLDR; Major red flags, run away now.

    • I think a friend can say this is no time to be too cheap to get a lawyer. Then it's not their problem anymore.

      • I just don't know why you'd even need one if you'd admitted fault and agreed to pay it straight back. This lady is shady!

  • -1

    Sorry, its a bit late to be asking for advice after you've been dishonest and held onto and spent money which you would reasonably have known to not be yours.

    All you can do now is throw yourself on the mercy of the police, and if they choose to prosecute, the court.

    Had something like this happen to me years ago. But I was honest and immediately contacted the organisation involved and told it that the money wasn't mine, and they were free to take it back at any time. In the end I got to keep it because they "couldn't establish whose it was and it was easier for everyone to quietly write it off". It was the tax department.

  • Frankly, I feel the bank should be held liable for their mistakes, i meant thats what happens to the commoner if they make a mistake…But Its funny how banks can cover themselves and the commener is at fault but all the times the banks have done dodgy things and never informed the victim and not held liable for…

    • +2

      you are assuming it was a bank mistake. these mistakes are usually the result of an individual putting in the wrong account number during a transfer and then they have to go through the process of getting a reversal done, though as per this case a reversal will fail if the person has noticed the money and then spent some or all of it. Most likely no error by the bank.

    • +3

      Didn't you learn in primary school that two wrongs don't make a right?

      Just imagine this in a real world context. I accidentally drop $7,000 on the floor, you go pick it up and start using it. Are you really saying that just because I made a mistake that somehow that absolves you of any wrongdoing?

  • This is a bit off topic but..

    When someone transfers money to another account by mistake, the bank says they can't do anything for a reversal but to message the receiver to give it back and nothing more they can do. But in this instance it seems the bank is doing whatever it takes to get the money back.

    • It's not so simple, how can they identify a 'mistake' from a legit transaction?

      If the bank just reversed any bank transfer on demand then people selling stuff would be getting scammed all over the place.

    • only happened to me once but the bank definitely DID NOT say they couldn't do anything, though I did have to fill out some forms and provide an explanation for the mistake. couple of weeks later I had the money back.

  • +1

    We all know this happened to you OP, not your imaginary friend

    • No, i have to disagree. Dont you regularly post long winded questions on behalf of your friends? (who also have the internet but are, for various reasons, incapable of creating forum posts)

  • If this is in front of a judge (not a jury) and the case is as simple as stated, I don't even think that a lawyer is necessary. If everything is already taken care of surely this is just a formality. The judge will make a decision based on the facts (a fine I guess). I doubt a lawyer can help avoid that, and a lawyer will add a HEAP of costs.

    • +2

      An unfortunate consequence of our adversarial court system is that police will typically charge you with as many and the most serious charges as possible, even if they know that they have a slim chance of gaining a conviction for the higher level charges.

      It’s a strategic move so that at court the prosecutor has room to move if negotiating lesser charges with the defence prior to trial.

      A lawyer will be experienced in this pre trial bargaining and will also be aware of the range of typical penalties or diversion programs for first offenders. They speak with the prosecutor before trial to try to discuss dropping/lowering charges and to get a vibe of what penalty they are seeking. If both defence and prosecutor go to the magistrate saying we feel this penalty is appropriate the magistrate will rarely disagree.

      Don’t know about QLD but in VIC every court has free legal aid duty lawyers who can do this for you on the day, just means you have to wait and wait until they can fit you in around other clients on the day.

  • +3

    I'm worried now because almost the same thing has happened to me in the past. About 1 year ago I found $5 on the ground and I just spent it in full knowledge that it wasn't my money. I guess if the police find out I better get a lawyer.

  • +1

    Back in my uni days I worked for a bank in the evenings. We worked in a non-descript warehouse and at the end of each day vans would pick up the day's cash and cheque deposits at each branch and bring them to us for sorting. We'd basically sit at computer terminals and reconcile all of the deposits to the customer's accounts.

    When it was time to go home you'd have to make sure everything balanced. Sometimes you'd be a few dollars out and you'd have to go back and find where you'd made a mistake. I remember one Friday night I was out about $500 and couldn't find my mistake. My supervisor told me not to worry and to go home - it would be sorted out over the weekend. When I turned up to work on Monday my boss told me they found the mistake - I'd incorrectly credited too much into some guy's account - I credited him $500 when he'd only deposited $50 or something like that. It was quite funny looking at the fun the guy had that weekend. His account balance was usually kept low and you could see he would sporadically deposit a small amount and then spend it in drips and drab - a six pack here, some smokes there. He would've woken up on Saturday and thought it was Christmas. He blew through everything in a couple of hours. New shoes, haircut, lunch etc. I'm pretty sure we just reversed the mistake and put him into overdraft so his fun didn't last long.

    • Cool story

      • +1


    • And this is why pay rises dont solve anything, for a majority of the "battlers" out there, all they know how to do is spend spend spend.

      • Don't we need them to get pay rises so they can go further in to the red? Who stops at zero? Keep it trickling up.

    • The first paragraph had me thinking you were involved in a scam or money laundering gig.

      non-descript warehouse and at the end of each day vans would pick up the day's cash and cheque deposits at each branch and bring them to us for sorting.

  • I once sent registered parcel to an ebay customer but noticed she paid too much postage so I went to paypal to issue her a partial refund but acciDentally refunded the whole amount so I contacted her immediately by phone and she denied receiving the parcel and denied having a paypal account. So she decided to keep the whole amount and the parcel, over $100.
    Your friend needs to get the paperwork for court and see what she is charged with. She could represent herself and say she wasnt sure where the money was from so decided not to spend it and missed the message from the bank. She could ask for it to be dismissed under section 10, or ask for no conviction to be recorded. If the worst happens, I believe that convictions are spent after 10 years

  • +1

    I feel like we're missing some of the facts here, a lot of vague wishy-washiness. Not sure how it escalated from the bank trying to recover the $900 she spent to the police being involved and then suddenly a court hearing.

    I would assume if she'd restored the amount spent as soon as she was made aware and stated all the facts to police they'd just recover the money and not pursue it further.

    Her first mistake was spending money that wasn't hers. If you're not sure what that money is, assume it was transferred into your account by mistake and leave it there.

    But also as others stated, even if you're innocent you should not talk to police without legal representation if they believe you're a suspect in a crime.

    • Iv provided an update on the original.

      • Thanks. I don't think your friend should worry too much about it.

        This isn't a case of a large sum of money being received in error and the recipient going on a spending spree with the windfall with no means to pay it back.

        There isn't much point for it to be pursued further apart from wasting everyone's money and time.

  • Just because the police had 'bank statements' does not mean she has to admit to anything.
    Was she charged before before or after her admissions?

  • +1

    She admitted the full facts above.

    You don't tell anyone (except your lawyer) anything outside of court. Every time you try to 'help' government, police, etc. they'll use it to bury you to try and score themselves a promotion.

    Once in court, she should have just said she usually uses the account for savings, so rarely looks at the balance so she's not tempted, but an expense came up and she wasn't even sure there was enough in the account for payment to go through successfully (the only-partial spend supports that) - but it did go through, and she thought no more about it until the bank FINALLY made her aware there was a problem - at which time she replaced the money as soon as she was financially able to.

    I'll say it again - tell no-one nuthin' unless they're working for YOU (and even then sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut). They'll bury the weak person every time, while letting genuine criminals get off because it's just easier to attack the person who submits and doesn't fight back.

  • We're not talking millions of dollars.

    Im sure if i found $1 on the ground and kept it, and spent it , its technically illegal, and i could be charged, but police wouldnt go to court over it unless there was more to the story

    So $900 is an amount legal feea would eat it up quickly.

    There must be more to the story

    I bet she was asked to return the money, but assumed ignoring it would make the banks give up

  • Get a lawyer to reduce the number of charges and make an objective plea in mitigation and direct the court to consider:
    In NSW S10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999
    or in Qld S12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992

  • OP, when is this court date,

    lets hope he doesnt disappear like so many other threads

  • Op: Sorry to say however the police wont just drop the charges against you (sorry your friend) just because you have now gone and reversed the funds. laying charges is almost like kpi's to them, the more the better.

  • Have a read about this :

    It will give you an idea of how to deal with it. 900 is nothing in compare to this case.

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