Malaysian student charged over $3.3m fraud

Christine Lee Jia Xin. Source: YouTube


A Malaysian student in Australia who allegedly spent A$4.6 million (US$3.3 million) that was mistakenly added to her account claims she thought the cash was a gift from her wealthy parents.

Apparently they are now unhappy with their global-trotting daughter.

“My parents give me lots of money”, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) quoted her saying.

Christine Lee Jia Xin, 21, apparently received a phone call from her bank in April 2015, after it froze her account when it realised the mistake of giving her an “unlimited overdraft”.

Lee is alleged to have spent the cash on branded handbags, jewellery and clothes as well as rent on an upscale apartment over 11 months in 2014 and 2015 using an overdraft account accidentally given to her by Westpac bank. She reportedly spent A$300,000 in a single day.

The bank only realised its error only when Lee transferred A$1.15 million to her PayPal account in 14 separate transactions in one day on April 7 last year, the newspaper reported.

“I bought clothes, shoes, lots of handbags … They are in my unit at Rhodes,” Lee said, according to Fairfax Media, adding that she had only A$4,000 left.

“My mother is coming over to visit me in June and will give the bank a cheque,” she reportedly said. “[My parents] are not very happy with me.”

The third-year chemical engineering student was charged earlier this month with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime. She was arrested at Sydney international airport trying to board a flight to Malaysia on an emergency passport.

Lee’s bank Westpac obtained court orders last year to seize all assets, declare her bankrupt and take the Malaysian’s passport, the SMH said. Westpac managed to persuade PayPal to return A$1.15 million but the rest of the cash remained outstanding.

After Lee failed to attend court or answering telephone calls, a warrant was issued for her arrest in March.

Lee’s boyfriend Vincent King pail her bail of A$1,000 after her arrest on May 4, claiming to be ignorant of his girlfriend’s windfall.

A legal source said it might be difficult to prove the charges because the bank provided her with the credit.

Lee is facing charges of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of the crime.