accidentally transfered $10.5M to client instead of $100 refund

According to local news outlet 7News, two Melbourne women, Manivel Thevamanogari and her sister Gangadory Thevamanogari, received an AUD$10.5 million deposit from Singaporean crypto exchange after the latter made an error in issuing an AUD$100 refund. Instead of the refund amount, an employee allegedly typed an account number in the payment section, resulting in an erroneous transfer to their bank account. 

The incident occurred back in May 2021, but was not discovered until an annual audit in December 2021. After filing a lawsuit, the Victoria Supreme Court recently ruled that the funds must be returned to the company. However, it turns out that Manivel has already spent AUD$1.35 million worth of the funds on a five-bedroom luxury home in Craigieburn. She was ordered to sell the property and return the remaining funds or face potential contempt of court charges. The case will return to court in October.

Regarding the case, Justin Lawrence from Henderson and Ball Lawyers said:

“There’s no doubt that if you saw that in your account, you would know it shouldn’t be there, and the onus is actually on you to call the sender and say, look, that shouldn’t have come into my account.”

Unlike crypto transactions, which are final and irreversible, it is possible for centralized financial institutions to reverse erroneous transactions. However, given the time it took to discover the error and that the funds from were transferred out of the original account post-receipt, a simple transaction reversal would have been impossible in this instance. 

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