It seems too incredible to be true, but fraudster Grahame Bell, 65, has admitted to defrauding the National Australia Bank to the tune of a cool $20 million.

In April of 2012 Mr Bell, from Mount Gambier, opened a cheque account with the NAB. He then opened another account with the NAB under the name of William Turner.

Photo: www.emirates247.com

Photo: www.emirates247.com

Mr Bell used his own account to deliberately overpay William Turner’s account by $20. He then closed this account. Soon he received a refund from the NAB, made out to William Turner, for $20. This he altered to make it look as though it were for $20 million.

This $20 million cheque from William Turner was submitted to Mr Bell’s account accompanied by a letter explaining it was payment for major electrical work on a mining project.

The cheque was cleared and, for a brief time, Mr Bell’s account was $20 million in credit.

However, before Mr Bell could withdraw the money staff got wind of the scheme.

The credited money was withdrawn from his cheque account and the authorities alerted.

In sentencing Judge Rauf Soulio said, “While at first glance it may have appeared the intended offence was so fabulous it was doomed to failure, in fact, had it not been for the observant steps taken by the drawer of the original cheque for $20 the fraud may have been completed and you may have been able to access the funds in question.”

Red-faced NAB management said none of the $20 million had been lost, but ‘cheque refund’ procedures are being revised.

For his audacity Mr Bell received three years and six months jail with a non-parole period of two years. The court credited Mr Bell with time already spent in custody. He is eligible for parole at the end of this month.

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