Asia

New Zealand 'accidental millionaire' found guilty

  • 18 May 2012
  • From the section Asia
Westpac Group headquarters, 16 Feb 2012
Image caption The bank had mistakenly deposited millions of dollars into Mr Gao's account

A New Zealand woman has been found guilty of money laundering, attempted fraud and theft.

''Accidental millionaires'' Kara Hurring and her partner Hui "Leo" Gao fled to China after Westpac Bank mistakenly deposited a NZ$10m ($7.5m, £4.65m) overdraft facility into his account in 2009.

Hurring was arrested after returning to New Zealand in February 2011.

Mr Gao, who faces similar charges, was extradited from Hong Kong last year.

The date for his trial has not been set.

Hurring was convicted in a Rotorua court after a four-day trial and is due to be sentenced in August.

In 2009, Mr Gao had asked the bank for a NZ$100,000 overdraft to help support his struggling garage.

The bank found out about the error days after transferring the millions into Mr Gao's business account.

But by then, police said, the couple had transferred more than half of the money into other accounts and then fled to Hong Kong.

They allegedly went on a gambling spree in Macau and southern China last year.

The couple are reported to have separated soon after they arrived in China. Hurring returned to New Zealand after having a baby.

She pleaded not guilty, saying Mr Gao had told her he won the lottery.

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