A 21-year-old chemical engineering student from Malaysia had been living the high life for the past five years, after a bank in Australia mistakenly gave her an unlimited overdraft in 2012. Christine Jiaxin Lee spent A$85,000 (£43,500, $62,729) a week living a luxury lifestyle.
She lived in a rented penthouse in Sydney with uninterrupted views across the Sydney Harbour, and bought designer clothes and handbags. Lee was arrested at Sydney airport last week, shortly after she secured an emergency passport to fly back to Malaysia. She has been charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of the crime.
The student had opened the Westpac account in 2012 but it was not until 2014 and 2015 that she took advantage of the unlimited overdraft by making various transactions totalling A$4.6m, according to a police statement. A total of A$1m has so far been recovered.
She is alleged to have moved A$5,000 a day to other bank accounts not affiliated to Westpac, the bank that had mistakenly allowed her to spend A$4.6m (£2.35m). Apparently, the movement of the cash did not raise any flags as the transfers were small. It is believed that a significant portion of the missing millions may have been moved out of the country or had already been spent, local reports claim.
Lee, a student at the University of Sydney, was charged at the Waverley Local Court where she was granted bail. Her boyfriend, Vincent King, provided the A$1,000 surety, which her lawyer, Fiona McCarron, said was all that they could afford.
Magistrate Lisa Stapleton questioned the strength of the prosecution case, suggesting that perhaps Lee had not committed a crime because the credit was made available to her by the bank. If that was the case, the magistrate said Lee would owe the money to the bank and would not be guilty of stealing or fraud.
"It isn't proceeds of crime. It's money we all dream of," Stapleton said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.