How a Texas bank’s mistake can land you in prison
Learn what you stand to lose by spending money funneled into your bank account by mistake. Your spending spree could result in criminal charges.
Imagine checking your bank account and finding more money than you bargained for after depositing your last paycheck…a lot more. Texas bank employees can make mistakes just like anyone else, but make sure you are not the one who ends up paying for that mistake. Learn how to handle an unexpected influx of funds you may be itching to spend or invest.
What should you do?
It is understandable that your initial reaction upon discovering extra cash in your account is to pay off debts, buy groceries or put some of the money back for retirement. Even if you do not plan on going on a shopping spree, but want to use the money responsibility instead, you still need to let your bank know what happened. Because the money is not yours, that means it is not yours to spend.
What happens if you do spend the money?
Maybe it was not a lot of money that accidentally landed in your account, and maybe you went ahead and spent it. If so, you risk being hit with criminal charges. While such charges commonly only happen with large amounts of money, it is better to not risk it in the first place.
At the very least, the bank will reverse the transaction, which could lead to you incurring overdraft fees and penalties. Your bank also has the right to file a police report if you spend the money. They will want to know why you failed to report the mistake and why you did not try to reverse the accidental transaction. Remember, that money belongs to someone else, and that person may need it more than you.
What can you do to avoid becoming a victim of someone else’s blunder?
It is true that the bank bears a lot of responsibility for depositing someone else’s funds into your account, but you can take steps to keep yourself out of legal hot water. For instance, it is a good idea to get into the habit of checking your bank account every few days. Specifically, check to see what transactions have yet to clear and when checks are fully deposited into your account, a time frame that can vary depending on the account and your bank.
Another reason to stay on top of your account activity is so you can spot whether your bank may have deposited one of your checks in someone else’s account. There could also be fraudulent activity that needs to be reported and stopped ASAP.
Have you unintentionally committed a crime in Texas by spending money mistakenly deposited into your account? Explore your legal options by consulting with a legal professional today.