SYDNEY (AP) — A Malaysian student has been charged in a Sydney court with dishonesty offenses after a bank accidentally gave her a 4.6 million Australian dollar ($3.4 million) overdraft four years ago.
Christine Jiaxin Lee was 17 years old and had been living in Sydney for a year when Westpac Banking Corp. made the expensive mistake in 2012, the Waverley Local Court was told on Thursday.
She was arrested at Sydney Airport on Wednesday night as she tried to fly to Malaysia still owing AU$3.3 million spent on what her lawyer described as luxury items including handbags. The rest of the money had been recovered.
An arrest warrant was issued for the 21-year-old chemical engineering student in March for taking advantage of the bank’s mistake.
She was released on bail after she appeared in court charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime. Lee did not enter pleas.
Magistrate Lisa Stapleton questioned whether the latter would stick.
“It’s not proceeds of crime. It’s money we all dream about,” Stapleton told the prosecutor. “She didn’t take it from them. They gave it to her.”
She is due to appear in court next on June 21.
The Immigration Department declined to comment on media reports that she had been taken into immigration detention on Friday, saying in a media statement it was not appropriate to discuss court matters or an individual’s visa status.