Christine Jiaxin Lee $4.6 million: How one exchange student clandestinely withdrew money that was erroneously put into her bank account with calculating design.
Authorities have described how Christine Jiaxin Lee the 21 year old Sydney, Australia exchange student who went on a spending spree after erroneously having $4.6 million($3.4m USD) put into her overdraft account, went about clandestinely siphoning the money to secret bank accounts.
The discovery comes after the Christine Lee, an international student from Malaysia who was arrested Wednesday night as she made a desperate get away back to her home country after a police warrant for her arrest in March for the missing woman.
Prior to an arrest warrant being issued, which for reasons not understood took more than four years to eventuate, Christine Lee had managed, since the funds first landed in her Westpac banking account in 2012, to keep the mistake hidden from the bank and authorities, while at the same time transferring circa $5000 a day into secret bank accounts across Australia.
According to a report via The Daily Telegraph, police allege that over a nine-month period, about $33,000 per week was sent to bank accounts with no connection to Westpac bank.
The small sum payments tell cops were minimal enough to avoid raising any alarms with banking officials.
A report via Nine News described how the chemical engineering student spent $3.3 million in less than a year (purportedly on designer handbags according to Thursday morning court arraignment) along with making cash transfers to the tune of $1.3 million into other bank accounts.
To date, Westpac officials told of $3.3 million missing, with the money believed to have been spent or moved overseas.
The processing error on behalf of Westpac led to the student taking up an illicit millionaire lifestyle, along with designer purchases, she also splashed out on a pricy luxury apartment in Sydney’s inner west overlooking the harbor at a cost of $3000 AUD a month.
The case has since led to questions of moral ambiguity, as to whether the student if not legally, was morally obliged to notify either authorities or the bank of funds that she clearly understood not to be hers and most likely a bank error.
Evidence of the student’s intent to clandestinely covert the banking error to her own advantage may lead to prosecutors arguing rather than being the passive party who attained a surprise windfall, acting in a manner to circumvent the bank and authorities from ever uncovering the error or the funds.
Ironically, Christine Jiaxin Lee was due to walk from police custody on Friday after being granted a $1000 bail after a magistrate ruled that it could not be proved that she had acted to steal the money after the bank error (in which she declined to point out).
Instead, the 21 year old student was taken into custody by immigration officers and transferred to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre, in Sydney’s western suburbs.
‘She was taken by immigration and will be held in detention at Villawood,’ a police source said.
‘She got bail for what she did but the visa is another thing and they’ll deal with that.’
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection would not comment on her status.
‘It is not appropriate for the Department to comment on matters before the court or an individual’s visa status.’
Since her arrest, the student who has lived in Australia since she was 17, has been charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
Ms Lee will have her case heard again in court on June 21.