Leo Gao, the co-owner of a BP station in Rotorua, New Zealand, applied for a $10,000 NZD ($6,142 USD) overdraft line from Westpac bank. An error by a bank staff member somehow put $10,000,000 NZD ($6,139,614 USD) in his account. He and his business partner haven’t been heard from since.
The money was in the account on or about May 5. The following day, the BP station closed its doors. But it was only on Thursday this week that police said they were investigating.
Police would not say yesterday when Westpac alerted them to the missing money.
Inquiry head Detective Senior Sergeant David Harvey of Rotorua CIB said police had called on Interpol to help find “individuals associated with the account” who were believed to have fled the country with a large sum of money “mistakenly advanced” by Westpac.
It is understood as much as $6 million is missing. The bank has recovered $4 million.
The station owners were in a bad financial position, and apparently saw the mistaken deposit as a windfall. They did exactly what one should not do in this situation—they allegedly wired the money out of the country and fled. Where to? Their native China? Nobody knows.
$6m runaways have head start [New Zealand Herald] (Thanks, Morticia!)