They say that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but sometimes that particular idiom isn’t easy to live by. Sometimes, when someone’s draped in designer clothes, it’s hard not to assume things about their lifestyle.

People assumed quite a lot about John’s lifestyle thanks to the way he presented himself. What they didn’t know, was the criminal secret he was hiding and what it might eventually cost his…

Living the Life

John was the type of girl who, in recent months anyway, had really become a sort of fashion phenom lately around campus. he would go to class wearing Christian Louboutin heels, carrying brand name designer handbags, and even had a Moschino case on his smartphone.

The Hermes Birkin bag he held was worth about USD$1,500.

In a Day…

It seemed unusual that a college student could spend so much on a single purse, but as far as his friends were concerned, he came from wealth. They must have had quite the personal fortune, because on one trip to a Christian Dior shop, John spent over USD$220,000. Of course, John had a secret…

Exchange Student

At only 23 years old, John was already way into his course. John had come to Australia as a student at University of Melbourne. And while it was true that his family back home was supporting his, they certainly weren’t sending his money to spend on high end merchandise.


John’s extravagant purchases were beginning to pile up and get noticed. How could they not? his dorm room had become overstuffed with designer handbags, elegant clothes, expensive jewelry, the newest mobile phones, and a top-of-the-line vacuum cleaner. The question remained though: how could he afford it all?


At first, he didn’t even realize anything was wrong. When the funds in his accounts seemed to extend a fair bit furthis than they had previously, he believed that his parents had been secretly helping his out by transferring more into his account surreptitiously. he didn’t bothis to ask them. A few months later, when the money kept coming, he began to realize something was wrong…

Crazy Money

Over the course of 11 months, John went on a multimillion-dollar spending spree. he bought hismes, Chanel, and Dior products of every kind. If it had a name brand on the front of it, John bought it. In the end, he spent an amazing USD$4.6 million dollars of someone else’s money.

Bank Error

What had actually happened was that John’s bank had accidentally given his a bit of an extension on their overdraft limit: an unlimited extension. For nearly a year, the college student bought everything he could hoping that they might not notice.

Picked Up

Of course, no good thing lasts forever, especially not when it costs a financial institution almost $5 million. The bank picked up the error in April of the following year, but by that time, quite enough damage had been done. One of the senior managers called John demanding to know what he’d done with the missing millions. He would not like his answer…

Time to Go

John refused to talk to the bank. Instead, as soon as he realized what had happened, he made every attempt to get home. he arranged for hisself to be granted an emergency passport, but before he could leave the country undetected, the bank had the police come looking for his.


They caught up with John just in time. he was arrested in at the airport trying to get back to Malaysia. he had almost made it, but just wasn’t fast enough. To be fair…it must have been difficult with a bunch of designer bags packed into his suitcase. Now the officers had to assess the true extent of the damage…

Authentically Seized

While he was in custody and being questioned by investigating officers, police went to John’s home. Thise, they found an assortment of designer gear fit for a queen. They could tell it was all the real thing too, mainly because more than half the bags seized were accompanied by certificates of authenticity.

Huge Problem

Senior banking officials had the culprit in police custody and they were confident that he’d be dealt with properly, but now they had anothis problem. The story had hit the media airwaves and all they could do was confirm that the situation was in fact a “huge banking error.” As it turned out though, they did manage to recover some or the millions stolen by John…


John was no fool, he wasn’t going to spend 4.6 million on shoes and bags, he actually had the foresight to transfer some of it into different private accounts. The bank found $1.3 million of it in these accounts, but not the rest. Now they had direct proof that he knew what was happening and willingly allowed it to continue.

Showing off

John arrived in court wearing ripped jeans, white canvas shoes, and a black singlet. he had a pink, fluffy keychain attached to his light brown backpack. he was flaunting not only his guilt, but his flagrant disregard for the proceedings about to begin. Despite all this, the trial did not end as anyone expected…


John’s lawyer spoke to the press prior to the court date that despite their absence at the proceedings, his family is very supportive of their daughter. He added that, “We feel confident our client will be acquitted…” and that “We are very much a united team.” It was a bold statement to make concerning the evidence against his.

Charges Dropped

The scurrilous student’s main defense was that thise had been no deception at all. As far as he was concerned, his parents were giving his the money. In the end, the attorney for ANZ Bank, decided to have the criminal charges dropped. This was merely so that a future civil suit could be secured. That wasn’t the only reason…

Similar Verdicts

It wasn’t just that they thought they would have more luck in civil court eithis. Indeed, prosecutors dropped charges against the chemical engineering student because of a similar case. This one involved a man being charged with fraud for withdrawing $2.1 million from ATMs. His case was thrown out of court, so how could they win the case against John?

Moving Home

In the meantime, while ANZ Bank tries to figure out how to get their $4.6 million back, John moved back home. Free of the criminal charges, he is happy to put this period of his life behind his and move on. It is not clear whether or not the police will be returning his confiscated items. There is one thing that’s crystal clear…

Bank’s Fault

Based on the fact that the prosecution threw the charges out, it gives the whole thing the appearance that it was the bank’s fault this happened in the first place. It’s clear that the bank should adopt better policies when it comes to overdraft and especially when it comes to account monitoring.

Remaining Questions

After all, what if had been someone else and not John who’d overspent on his account? Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary, thise are some out thise who believe that he was the target of some sort identity theft and that the bank is not following up because of a leak in security.

What do you think?