Imagine you suddenly came into a windfall of money and were able to buy whatever you wanted. You could finally take that trip to Ibiza you’ve always wanted while wearing that outfit you could never afford. Of course, you’d have to show off your new status all over social media.
For most of us, this dream will never become reality, but that wasn’t the case for one young woman. When she started receiving money out of the blue with no explanation, she got a chance to live out a true fantasy — but the story only got stranger from there…
Christine Lee, a 21-year-old from Malaysia, was a Chemical Engineering major at Sydney University in Australia. She came from a very well-off family that supported her throughout her educational pursuits.
Christine was a bit of a fashionista around campus. The outfits, shoes, and accessories she wore around the school were nothing like what the other college students would wear. Her affluent status was nothing she tried to hide.
When she went to class, she would wear Christian Louboutin heels, her phone was in a Moschino protective phone case, and she carried a Hermes Birkin handbag worth around $10,000. Her wardrobe was nothing a college student could afford.
Her friends noticed that her dorm was overflowing with designer purses, clothes, jewelry all worth thousands. On top of that, she always had the newest technology and even her vacuum was top-of-the-line. But, as far as her friends knew, her parents were just incredibly wealthy.
NSW Police / Facebook
But although Christine’s parents were well-off, they weren’t wealthy enough to support these types of shopping habits. In one trip alone to Dior, Christine spent over $220,000. So where was Christine getting this money?
Believe it or not, it took Christine a while to figure out that something was off. She started to notice that she had extra funds and she was able to stretch her spending little by little each month but just assumed that her parents were transferring her extra money without telling her.
This went on for months and months. Christine didn’t want to bring it up with her parents — why risk spoiling a good thing? Still, she was starting to believe that something else was going on that led to her newfound wealth.
Any occasion she had to flaunt her belongings, she did: Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook. She was living her best life, and she hoped the money would never stop flowing. But things were about to catch up with her…
After living 11 months in a financially carefree life, her bank started to catch on. Bank employees noticed that Christine was making incredibly expensive purchases in amounts that didn’t make sense given the relatively small deposits made each month.
When they looked into it, they realized the high spending Christine was doing was because of their own error. It appeared that Westpac bank accidentally gave her a bit of an extension of her credit limit. Just how much?
An angry senior manager from Westpac bank called Christine questioning her. Did she think the bank would never notice? She hung up the phone after refusing to talk to him. Christine realized the jig was up and that she was about to be in a world of trouble.
Christine needed to think of an escape plan quickly before things got out of hand, so she arranged to get an emergency Malaysian passport. Her plan was to fly back home to Malaysia before things got worse.
She threw some of her things into her designer luggage and headed for Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport. She was able to make it through security and to the gate. It appeared that Christine was going to make it out of the country undetected.
That’s when they discovered just how much Christine was able to buy on stolen money. They confiscated all of her designer purchases along with their certificates of authenticity. They also discovered something else.
Christine, knowing very well that this money did not belong to her, transferred $1.3 million worth of these funds to various private accounts. This was the proof Westpac bank needed to prove that this wasn’t an accident: Christine was aware of what was happening and what she was doing.
When her court day arrived, Christine showed up to court wearing ripped jeans, a black tank top, and sneakers. She wore a backpack that had a pink, fluffy keychain attached to it — a far cry from her usual look.