PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian student in Australia who was mistakenly given A$4.6mil (RM13.8mil) by a bank allegedly spent copious amounts of the money on designer handbags, clothing, jewellery, and even a deluxe vacuum cleaner.
The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday released a long list of transactions that 21-year-old Christine Jiaxin Lee allegedly made with the funds provided by Westpac, the bank which unintentionally gave her bank account an unlimited overdraft.
It was reported that in some instances, the chemical engineering student would spend up to a whopping A$310,000 (RM930,000) in a day at up to five designer boutiques, based on court documents.
Westpac, in the documents, outlined 79 items and 50 store transactions they believe were made using overdrafts, although many more transactions have not been traced.
These included 16 Christian Dior handbags, four Hermes handbags, 13 Hermes scarves, two smartphones, three digital cameras, Chanel cashmere pillows and a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
Based on the list of in-store transactions, Lee spent A$716,640 (RM2.1mil) at Christian Dior, A$249,050 (RM747,150) at Chanel and A$48,055 (RM144,165) at Hermes between January and April last year.
Lee had been given an unlimited overdraft when she opened a bank account with Westpac Bank in August 2012, but only realised this in July 2014.
She would spend a total of A$4.6mil (RM13.8mil) in hundreds of transactions of designer clothes and handbags over the next eleven months while living in a luxury penthouse in Sydney, Australia.
It was said she initially used a PayPal account to buy items online but eventually transferred money to another bank account and used it to go on twenty shopping sprees in the earlier part of 2015, spending A$1.2mil (RM3.6mil).
Lee was arrested at Sydney airport last week after she got an emergency passport to fly back to Malaysia.
She was charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of the crime.
Magistrate Lisa Stapleton had reportedly expressed her scepticism about the charges against Lee, saying it appeared that she had not broken the law.
However, it was reported that Lee made repeated attempts to evade the bank, the police and the courts before her arrest.
In April 2015, Westpac realised their error and immediately froze Lee’s account and served her with court-issued notices to produce the goods, whereby she handed in twenty-seven luxury items worth about A$1mil (RM3mil).
The Australian Supreme Court later made orders allowing Westpac to seize any assets to repay the remaining debt and after seven attempts to contact her, she was served with a bankruptcy notice and a summons to appear in Federal Court.
Lee did not turn up at court and also disappeared from her apartment.
The police then issued a warrant for her arrest in March, about the same time she applied for an emergency passport.