Malaysian Student Who Spent RM15.3 Million That Wasn't Hers Pleads Not Guilty
Christine Jiaxin Lee was arrested earlier this year when attempting to flee Australia.
A Malaysian student, accused of spending AUD4.6 million (RM15.3 million) on a shopping spree after a bank error gave her an unlimited overdraft, has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges
Christine Jiaxin Lee, a chemical engineering student, is currently on trial in Sydney, Australia. She faces charges of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of a crime after spending AUD4,653,333.02 (RM15,487,186.78) belonging to Westpac Bank after a technical glitch granted her the ability to withdraw as much money as she wants and continue to do so, even after her bank account has zero balance.
Between July 2014 and April 2015, the 21-year-old was alleged to have spent the millions on renting a prime estate condo as well as buying designer handbags, clothes, jewellery, mobile phones, and other luxurious goods.
Lee's lawyer, Hugo Aston said that the 21-year-old will be "vigorously" defended against the charges, saying, "We are confident that our client will be acquitted."
According to Daily Mail Australia, Aston also revealed that Lee's family had flown into Australia from Malaysia to provide support, adding, "Her family are fully supportive of her. We are very much a united team."
Aston also said that Lee plans to return to Malaysia after the end of the court matter.
Lee was arrested at the Sydney Airport on 4 May when she attempted to fly back to Malaysia. Prior to that, the bank and Australian police have made multiple attempts to contact her after a warrant for her arrest was issued in March 2015.
Prosecutor Marc Turner said that Lee was aware that the bank and police are trying to make contact with her, as Westpac investigators managed to contact her after freezing her account on 7 April 2015 upon realising the blunder.
However, at that point, she had already withdrawn the millions, going on five to six-figure shopping sprees as well as transferred some of the money to another bank account.
Lee, on the other hand, claimed that that she thought the millions were banked in by her wealthy parents
When asked why she thought she had access to that much money, she said, "My parents give me lots of money."