Think: Banks aren't as dim-witted as you'd like them to be

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I know this is a tough concept. And I've mentioned it before. And it goes something like this: If money that doesn't really belong to you ends up in your bank account, don't plan on keeping it and don't spend it. You have a moral and legal obligation to return that money to the rightful owner.

Today's rocket scientist is Benjamin Lovell. It turns out that Benjamin Lovell #1 received $5 million in his bank account, which was really meant for Benjamin Lovell #2. Number One claims he tried to tell the bank the money wasn't his and they told him it was. Okay, I can see how this conversation went (if it even happened). "Hello bank... this is Benjamin Lovell. You gave me $5 million that's not really mine." Bank: "Benjamin Lovell? Oh yes, that's your money." And it was a different Benjamin Lovell's money.

But the guy knew it was a mistake and ran out and promptly spent $2 million. He was wrong, and he knows it. I think with $5 million on the line, there are several things he could have tried to give back the money. And by all means, he knew he should not spend the money. It wasn't his. He knew it. And now he's being charged as a criminal. Good.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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