So the scenario goes like this…
You’ve got about three hundred dollars and change in your Bank of America checking account and you head to the ATM to grab some cash for a weekend trip to the casino.
Once there you notice a few extra zeros at the end of your account. What would you do?
Fill up the tank and head to the mall? Pack a bag and jet to Aruba? Call the bank and report the error?
Well 55 year old Ronald Page made a decision that may cost him about 15 months in jail.
Page, of Detroit, Michigan, is facing prison time after he was able to withdraw unlimited cash from his Bank of America account through the ATM when in reality he only had a few dollars deposited in the account.
Bank of America made a huge mistake and had placed Page’s account in a “pay all” status, allowing him to accumulate unlimited overdrafts.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit said Page took advantage of BOA’s mistake and from August 1 to 18 in 2009, hit up the ATMs for cash, mostly at casinos, and cashiers.
The total about overdrawn? $1,543,104!!!!!!!!!
A retired 30 year employee of Detroit’s auto industry, Page normally maintained an average balance of about $100 in his account from Dec. 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009 and the extra money seemed like a Godsend to the compulsive gambler.
Page’s winning losing streak came to an end August 18, when he attempted to withdraw $52,000 from his account while at Greektown Casino. The ATM denied his request so he traveled to the Motor City Casino on August 19 and tried again, this time attempting a lesser amount ($51,400), but he was again denied.
Two days later, Bank of America advised Page that his account was overdrawn by over $1.5 million and demanded immediate repayment.
Needless to say Page did not and has not repaid Bank of America.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office recommended 15 months in prison for Page and that the court order restitution to Bank of America for the $1,543,104.
“In this case, the bank’s glitch allowed the defendant to lose a significant amount of money that was not even his in the first place,” states the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memorandum, filed on June 11.
“The fact that defendant acted on an impulse does not minimize the seriousness of his conduct and the need for a custodial sentence.”
Prosecutors noted that Page is not a violent offender and his age and background indicate a low risk of committing violent crimes in the future and in addition to the 15 months jail time and restitution, they also recommended Page be prohibited from gambling activity, lotteries, or wagering of any kind and from entering the premises of any gambling casinos, horse tracks, bingo parlors, or dog races or wherever gambling activity is conducted.
Page pled guilty on March 7, 2012 to theft of bank funds and will be sentenced June 27, 2012.
I personally don’t think Page deserves jail time. He certainly didn’t have to hit anyone over the head to feed his addiction, which is a good thing, and he may have even seen the extra money in his account as a gift from God.
That would be my excuse anyway…
Whose really to blame?
Page and his gambling addiction or Bank of America for inadvertently supporting it?