When Luke Moore’s bank didn’t realize an administrative error allowed him to go into millions of dollars into overdraft, he kept on spending.
Despite thousands of dollars of interest piling up in his account, the now 29-year-old Australian spent over C$2 million on luxury cars, boats, strippers and booze between 2010 and 2012, before St. George Bank realized its error.
According to police in New South Wales, Moore spent some of the cash on a 2001 Maserati 3200 GT, a 2006 Alfa Romeo, an original Banksy and other signed celebrity memorabilia. He also used it to pay off bills and a mortgage.
GALLERY: Some of the items police seized from Luke Moore
Moore was later convicted of fraud and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison. But the fraud conviction was overturned in appellate court this month.
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The judge found that Moore’s actions were not criminal as he had not deceived the bank into giving him the money; it was simply the bank’s mistake.
“Mr. Moore communicated nothing to St. George which was untrue which induced it to continue and indeed increase its lending of money to him,” read part of the ruling.
Michael Nowina, a Toronto-based fraud lawyer with the firm Baker McKenzie, told Global News that Canadian laws follow similar thresholds as the Australian laws.
“The Canadian Criminal Code requires a deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent act in order for there to be a criminal conviction for fraud,” said Nowina. “So it’s likely the result would be similar in Canada.”
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Nowina pointed out that Moore was required to repay the money to the bank, which would also likely be the case in Canada.
But criminal defence lawyer Jordan Donich, also based in Toronto, takes a more cautionary stance.
“Does the Canadian government want people to be able to legally take advantage of such windfalls without consequence … even though it was no fault of their own initially?” asked Donich. “It’s easy to think of a bank as a non-victim, but there is a victim somewhere. Somebody’s a loser here.”
Today Moore is broke, living in his mother’s house, and studying to become a criminal lawyer, according to the Daily Telegraph. He said he’s relieved his high-flying days are over.
“I pull more chicks now with $20 in my pocket than I did when I was splashing the bank’s cash,” he said. “With age comes wisdom and confidence and I’ve learned money doesn’t buy everything — but it was great while it lasted.”