Costly mistake leads to suspended jail term

WHAT would you do if more than $40,000 appeared in your bank account without explanation?

The decision to transfer most of the money to his wife's bank account and spend a portion on a new car and bills has left a Bundaberg man with an 18-month jail term hanging over his head.

On Tuesday Leigh Allen Geoffrey Mackay, 33, pleaded guilty in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court to one count of fraud after a bank data entry error deposited $41,386 of someone else's money into his account.

Defence lawyer Nick Larter said his client saw the money in his account and "temptation got the better of him".

The father of four was earning about $620 a week and had not owned a car for some time when he suddenly discovered the money in his bank account on July 3 last year.

From July 3-12 Mackay started to withdraw the money from his account.

He drew up a bank cheque for about $33,000 and moved the money into his wife's account.

When the bank realised the error and tried to contact Mackay he initially ignored the direction before the bank contacted the police.

Mr Larter argued that Mackay didn't do anything illicit to obtain the money and had paid back the money before he was issued with a notice to appear in court.

Supported by his family in court, Mr Larter said Mackay's wife had initially been "cranky" with him when she discovered the money in her account but the couple had since reconciled.

In sentencing Mackay, Magistrate Aaron Simpson took into consideration Mackay's early plea and otherwise unblemished history.

He said when Mackay discovered the money instead of calling the bank to rectify the situation he decided to spend the money. "It was opportunistic and not planned," he said.

"You gave into the weakness of greed it seems."

Mr Simpson sentenced Mackay to 18 months jail immediately suspended for three years.

"It will hang over your head. It looms large in your life," Mr Simpson said.


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