This article on CNN caught my eye the other day. It’s about an “Accidental Millionaire” who discovered that a keying error by his bank resulted in him having a $10,000,000 line of credit instead of a $100,000 line of credit. Instead of notifying the bank of the error, he withdrew 6.8 Million of it, disbursed the money into overseas accounts and then promptly fled the country. About 2 and a half years later, he was caught and brought back to New Zealand to stand trial for his theft.
The whole thing brings up an interesting question though. Obviously, the right thing to do would be to notify the bank of the error, so that it could be fixed and all could continue on their way. And, I think it’s fair to say, most of us would do just that. But, what if it was for such a high amount of money? Sure, if the bank makes a $10,000 error, you’ll let them know. But, what if they make a $10,000,000 error? Just how tempting would it be to do just like this guy did, take the money out and put it into overseas accounts where it couldn’t be recovered by the bank, and make a run for it? Even if you knew you could make it 2.5 years before getting caught, would it be worth it to live like a multi-millionaire for that amount of time?
I think that the penalty would likely be high, and will likely involve some jail time, but would all that be worth living the rich life for a few years?
I can’t see where it would be for me, personally. But, obviously, for this guy, the answer was that it would be worth it. Or, maybe he truly thought he could get away and not get caught. I’m not sure how one really thinks that they’ll be able to get away with something like that. But, he obviously did, or at least thought the trade off was worth the possible penalty.
Me, I’ll settle for making my money the old fashioned way, and making it work for me. The trade-off of not making it as fast as he did, but staying out of jail is well worth it.
What are your thoughts on that. Would you trade a few years of living as a millionaire on the run be worth the possible penalties?