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05th May 2016

Student raked up €3 million overdraft on designer bags

It’s not unusual to wake up and find your bank account has a few more zero’s than you expected. As in a big fat zero. As in you’re broke. As in that’s the reality sadly.

But this story is the stuff dreams are made of.

According to, 21-year-old Christine Jiaxin Lee, woke up one day and found that her bank account had a lot of extra zero’s. An extraordinary glitch in the Westpac bank system resulted in Lee becoming an accidental millionaire.

Sadly for her, Lee was arrested this week (four years after the glitch) while trying to board a flight to Malaysia.

The chemical engineering student has been charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

Magistrate Lisa Stapleton granted Lee bail on Thursday claiming it was Westpac’s fault for inadvertently gaving her an unlimited overdraw facility.

“It isn’t proceeds of crime. It’s money we all dream of,” Ms Stapleton said.

Reports indicate that in August 2012, Westpac accidentally gave Lee credit in the form of the unlimited overdraft. Since then, Lee has spent over €3 million. Almost €1 million was spent on luxury handbags, other luxury items and some transfers. Over €2 million remains outstanding.

Police are having difficulty proving that the spending was illegal.

“She didn’t take it from them. They gave it to her,” Ms Stapleton said.
In that case, Lee does owe the bank the money, but hasn’t broken the law by spending the money.

The Sydney City Local Area Command’s CBD fraud unit started their investigation in 2012, and issued the warrant for Lee’s arrest on March 4, 2016.

Sergeant Turner said the bank and the police had made attempts to contact Ms Lee but she didn’t return calls or emails.

Prosecutor Marc Turner opposed bail claiming Lee had recently applied for an emergency passport to return to Malaysia. Lee’s lawyer claims the girl was intending to visit parents who were unaware of the student’s arrest.