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Teen goes on spending spree after $31,000 bank error

By: ABC News Email
By: ABC News Email

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Hull, Ga. (ABC) -- A Georgia bank is asking a teenager to return $31,000 that was mistakenly deposited into his account. The problem is he may have already spent most of the cash.

The Madison County Sheriff Office police were dispatched to First Citizens Bank in Hull, Ga., on March 18 concerning financial fraud, a police report states. There, employee Kristy Bryant explained that on March 7 a customer named Steven Fields deposited $31,000, but a teller entered the amount into the account of another customer who had the same name.

After receiving the mistaken deposit, Steven Fields, 18, withdrew $20,000 and made $5,000 in purchases with his ATM card, as first reported by the Athens Banner-Herald. The deposit error wasn't noticed until original Steven Fields complained to the bank of his missing money on March 17.

When the alleged deposit recipient tried to withdraw more money the next day, the bank "informed him of the mistake that was made and asked him to return the money," the police report stated, but "Mr. Fields claimed that the money was his from an inheritance."

He also claimed that the money entered his account through a direct deposit, which the bank said is not true, the police report stated. Nevertheless, Fields said he would return to the bank with proof of his inheritance, but he never returned, the police report stated.

After the police went to Fields' home, he stated that "he thought the money came from his grandmother's estate," the police report states.

"I informed Mr. Fields that the bank wanted the money back as soon as possible," according to the reporting officer's statement. "Mr. Fields stated that he would go to the bank and talk with Mrs. Bryant and try to settle this situation without going to jail."

The bank told police they would give Fields a deadline of March 19, 5 p.m. to return all the money or they want him prosecuted. On Thursday, the Madison County Sheriff's Office said charges had not yet been filed related to this case.

On Thursday, Angela English, director of corporate communications for First Citizens released a statement to ABCNews.com that said, "Due to the bank’s privacy policies and out of respect for our customers, I cannot comment on the police report or the matter under investigation."

ABC News was unable to reach the teen for comment.


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