A man who became an overnight millionaire due to a banking error has been sentenced to six years behind bars.Packs of 5,000 ruble banknotes at the Moscow Printing Factory of the Goznak security printing company.
Roman Yurkov received 95.2 million rubles ($1.3 million) after a digital technical error while taking money out of his bank account at a bookmaker in Tula, Russia.
The 35-year-old car salesman took advantage of an error during a technical update in his bank’s mobile application in June 2020 and withdrew funds from the account through bookmakers, according to the investigation and as reported by Lenta.ru.
Yurkov said he received a message on his phone that 95 million rubles had been deposited into his VTB bank account and believed the sum was winnings from the bookmaker’s office, Mash reported. After calling the bank to make sure everything was in order, he said he was told there were no issues with his account.
On the night of May 31, 2020, through to June 1, 2020, Yurkov made 220 separate transactions which he spent “at his own discretion,” prosecutors alleged.
Included in the spending spree were four apartments, a new iPhone, a BMW and a Mercedes.
“I bought everything I wanted. Well, only I didn’t buy the plane,” Yurkov told Mash, describing the experience as being “like in the movies.”
The accidental millionaire said he was in regular contact with the bank to make sure everything was okay with his account and said he was repeatedly told by bank employees that everything was fine.
However, the situation became known when the bank began to summarize its quarterly report and in November, Yurkov’s account was blocked, local media reported.
His account, which had 39 million rubles ($540,000) left, was seized and the following month Yurkov was arrested.
The Sovetskiy District Court found the 35-year-old guilty under Article 158 (“Theft from a bank account, committed on an especially large scale”) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the Tulsa Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement on June 24.
The court found Yurkov guilty of “taking advantage of a malfunction in the bank’s software” and sentenced him to six years in prison.
Yurkov reportedly continues to claim his innocence, saying he didn’t do anything wrong and fully believed it was a mistake by the bookmaker.