A barman began living the high life after a dodgy cash machine allowed him to take money out of his account, without being charged for it.
Dan Saunders had just had his card declined at a bar when he tried to buy a round of drinks for his mates.
A trip to the nearest hole-in-the-wall revealed he had just £3 to his name, but desperate for a pint the 29-year-old decided to withdraw £100 anyway and worry about the consequences later. And though the screen said the transaction was cancelled, money came out and the bank was none the wiser.
The Australian worked out that if he went to the same ATM between midnight and 1am he could take as much money out as he wanted and not get charged.
Over the next four months he splashed £1 million on private jets, Hugo Boss suits, as well as high class escorts – he even paid off his friends’s student debts.
He said: “Being able to withdraw hundreds with the stroke of a key was a very addictive thing – I felt like a caveman discovering fire.
He spent all of his newfound wealth on wild parties, private jets, and escorts. Credit: A Current Affair.
Eating out at the best restaurants and throwing wild parties began to take their toll, Dan was racking up an incredible amount of debt and had to keep his double life a secret from his family.
His biggest expense was when he spent £50,000 on chartering a 20-seat private jet, filled with all his mates, to an island near Bali.
He said: “I couldn’t tell you exactly where it was, but I didn’t need a passport to get there.
“We were in the air for about three hours and had filled the plane up with people.
“It was a mix of old friends and new faces. We hired the whole resort, the over-water villas and ate and drank there.
“I opened the book on anything – people just gave me their dreams and I fulfilled them.”
Dan eventually told the bank what he had been doing and was sentenced to one year in prison. Credit: A Current Affair
It wasn’t just close friends who benefited from Dan’s newfound wealth, he once hired a minibus and picked up strangers from hostels in Melbourne and drove them to an estate in Yarra Valley, where he held crazy pool parties.
But as time went by things quickly went downhill for Dan, who eventually tried gambling to win the money back; overcome with guilt he suffered with vivid nightmares.
He said: “I remember waking up in a pool full of sweat, realising that it was just a dream and then hotel doorbell rang. I was like ‘that’s it, I’m gone. They’re coming to get me’, which actually would have been a relief – but it turned out to be the maid asking if I’d like fresh towels.”
After blowing all of the cash Dan eventually got in touch with the bank and told them what he had done.
Three years later he was arrested on 111 counts related to fraud and theft.
Dan said: “The court case was weird because no one actually understood what I did: not the judge, not the prosecutor, it was very odd.
“There were many blank looks; the bank provided minimal evidence so it was really just a case of ‘bad Dan and that’s it….case closed.
“They even played the Current Affair interview in the court room as evidence. It was surreal.
“I just sat back and pleaded guilty and sort of let it all unfold in front of me.
“It was the oddest set of circumstances I have ever witnessed.”
After serving a year in prison, Dan was released in May 2016 and is back working behind a bar.
Featured Image Credit: A Current Affair