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Couple splash on casinos and luxury hotels after bank mistakenly deposits $10 million into their account

Anish Vij

Published 
| Last updated 

Couple splash on casinos and luxury hotels after bank mistakenly deposits $10 million into their account

Featured Image Credit: @ibtimestv/YouTube/@ABC News (Australia) /YouTube

Hui 'Leo' Gao and his partner Kara Hurring went on an absolute mad one when the bank accidentally put a whopping NZ$10 million (£5.2 million) in their bank account.

Posh hotels, flashy clothes, luxury casinos, the couple certainly didn't hold back.

It all came about in 2009 when Gao applied for a £52,000 overdraft to help out with his petrol station business in Rotorua, New Zealand.

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The good news was that the Westpac bank approved the loan.

Hui 'Leo' Gao and Kara Hurring went on a spending spree after accidentally receiving £5.2 million from the bank. Credit: 1 News
Hui 'Leo' Gao and Kara Hurring went on a spending spree after accidentally receiving £5.2 million from the bank. Credit: 1 News

Geo was made a millionaire overnight after he was sent 100 times his approved limit, according to court documents.

At the time, the couple were supposedly dubbed the 'accidental millionaires'.

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Former flatmate Bianca Taute said: “Gao was ecstatic, he jumped on the bed yelling ‘we’re f*****g rich’ and yahooing and woohooing."

"As soon as he realised the error made by Westpac allowed him access to the funds, the accused set about planning how he could transfer funds now available to him offshore," court documents state.

The pair immediately fled to China to try and avoid getting caught.

On April 24, 2009, Gao was said to have transferred $500,000 out of his $10m Westpac overdraft and in several instalments, he transferred $6,782,000 into his account.

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However, the couple later separated as Gao stayed in China while Hurring returned to New Zealand.

Gao split the money over various bank accounts. Credit: Pexels
Gao split the money over various bank accounts. Credit: Pexels

After authorities eventually caught on, Gao was arrested in Hong Kong and Hurring decided to turn herself in. Gao eventually returned to New Zealand and pleaded guilty to theft.

After telling the court he had acted 'like a d**k', he served 16 months in prison and was set free in 2013.

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In a separate verdict, Hurring was sentenced to nine months home detention and was made to pay back around £6,000. She continued to maintain her innocence, claiming that Gao had told her he had 'won the lottery' and said she knew nothing of the accidental transfer.

She was found guilty of 25 counts of theft and three counts of attempting to dishonestly use documents and two counts of money laundering.

"I think everyone in the banking industry has learned a few lessons from this," prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch said.

In 2019, the couple's story was actually made into the 2019 film, titled Runaway Millionaires, and was based on Hurring's account of what happened.

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Topics: News, Money, World News, Crime

Anish Vij
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