NEW ZEALAND HERALD, TV NEW ZEALAND (New Zealand), BBC NEWS (UK), THE AUSTRALIAN (Australia)
AUCKLAND - A New Zealand man who fled to China after millions of dollars were accidentally transferred into his bank account has been jailed for four year and seven months, reports BBC News.
Hui 'Leo' Gao and former girlfriend Kara Hurring were sentenced today in New Zealand’s Rotorua District Court after spending two years on the lam.
In April 2009 a bank error saw Gao's account credited with $NZ 10 million ($7.5 million) instead of the $NZ 100,000 overdraft ($75,000) he wanted so he could revamp his Rotorua petrol station and sell it, explains The Australian.
The Westpac bank found out about the error only a few days after transferring the millions into Gao's business account. But by then, he had transferred more than half of the money into other accounts abroad and fled to Hong Kong, reports BBC News.
According to TV New Zealand, Gao also transferred more than $NZ 347,000 to casino accounts in the Asian gambling capital of Macau and went on a South East Asian gambling spree with his partner.
Gao was arrested last September when he tried to enter Hong Kong from China and triggered an Interpol alert, reports the New Zealand Herald.
Hurring, 33, was arrested when she re-entered New Zealand last year. She was sentenced to nine months home detention.
According to The Australian, Westpac has since recovered $NZ 2.9 million although another $NZ 3.8 million remains missing.