THE Malaysian woman who became an “accidental multimillionaire” due to a bank glitch spent AUS$150,000 (about US$109,358) on a one-of-a-kind luxury handbag, among other items, it has been revealed.
Christine Jia Xin Lee, 21, was arrested at Sydney Airport on May 4 on fraud charges earlier this month after amassing a AUS$3.5 million debt after receiving an accidental unlimited overdraft from Westpac Bank in 2012.
Court documents obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) revealed the extent of her shopping sprees, allegedly spending up to $310,000 in a day in some instances while visiting designer boutiques.
Her largest purchase, according to the newspaper, was a rare handbag by luxury designer Hermes which cost AUS$150,000.
The bag, named the Himalayan Crocodile Blanc Birkin, is made from the skins of specially-bred “albino” crocodiles, and has a waiting list of up to six years.
The list also reportedly included other luxury items such as a Sony “digital selfie” camera, two Casio cameras, a Dyson vacuum cleaner, Christian Louboutin “Equestria boots”, Chanel cashmere pillows, two smartphones, 13 Hermes scarves and several dozen handbags. Lee allegedly made most of her transactions through PayPal.
According to SMH, Lee also transferred AUS$1.2 million to a Commonwealth Bank account, using the money on shopping sprees in luxury stores including Chanel, Hermes, Christian Louboutin, and Bvlgari between January and April 2015.
Most of the items have not been recovered, reports SMH, suggesting she may have sold them on.
Westpac only realized the monumental glitch in April 2015 and immediately froze Lee’s account, serving her with court-issued notices to produce the purchases.
Lee handed in 27 items totaling about AUS$1 million later that month, including a Cartier bracelet, 16 Christian Dior handbags and four Hermes handbags.
However, in May, the Supreme Court made orders allowing Westpac to seize any of Lee’s assets to repay the remaining AUS$3.4 million.
After Lee received a bankruptcy notice and court summons in June, after seven unsuccessful visits from the debt collector, she failed to show up in court and was declared an unregistered bankrupt in September.
Lee reportedly disappeared from her apartment in Rhodes, only resurfacing this month when police caught her attempting to leave the country on an emergency-issue passport.
After being released on AUS$1,000 bail paid by her boyfriend, Lee is due to reappear in court in June.