Couple mistakenly sent $10.5M by to face October plea hearing

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The Melbourne couple who accidentally received 10.5 million Australian dollars ($6.7 million) will be facing a plea trial in October for a theft charge after spending the funds that they received by mistake in 2021. 

In May 2021, Thevamanogari Manivel transferred funds to her partner Jatinder Singh’s account. However, the exchange detected that the bank account did not match the exchange account. Therefore, a refund was issued, but instead of refunding the 100 AU$ that the couple tried to put in, the exchange mistakenly sent 10.5 million AU$ to Manivel’s bank account.

The mistake was not discovered until December 2021, when the exchange conducted its annual audit. After the exchange filed a lawsuit in the Victoria Supreme Court, the judge ruled that the funds should be returned to the crypto trading platform. 

However, the couple had allegedly already gone on a spending spree before the mistake was discovered. The couple had reportedly bought four houses, vehicles and other items, as well as sending around 4 million AU$ to a Malaysian bank account. One of the houses is a five-bedroom property in Craigieburn worth 1.35 million AU$, which was ordered by the court to be sold and the funds returned.

1.35 million AU$ property bought by the couple. Source: Nine News

In October 2022, the couple argued in court that they thought they had won a prize from the crypto exchange. Singh claimed that he had previously received a notification from the company regarding a competition. However, compliance officer Michi Chan Fores denied that such a competition existed. Fores noted that the exchange did not send such notifications to its users. 

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Manivel, who was charged with theft, has recently pleaded guilty to recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime in September 2023. She was sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order, which includes six months of intensive compliance and unpaid community work after she had already spent 209 days in custody. Meanwhile, Singh is set to face a plea trial on Oct. 23.

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