Louisiana woman charged with pocketing $1.2m bank error in her favor

A Louisiana woman experienced what for many would have been a dream come true: Over $1.2m randomly appeared in her bank account one day in February.

Kelyn Spadoni used the fast-acting skills she developed as a 911 dispatcher and quickly purchased a house and a car within a day of the money appearing in her account. Now Spadoni’s brokerage firm, Charles Schwab, wants the money back, arguing the cash was put into her account accidentally, the result of a software glitch.

The company said it meant to transfer $82.56 into Spadoni’s account with Fidelity Brokerage Services. Instead, they ended up transferring $1,205,619.

Charles Schwab is taking Spadoni to court for refusing to return the money to the company saying that Spadoni signed their client contract that says clients must return an overpayment of funds in full. The company says Spadoni ignored multiple calls, texts and emails from the company requesting the money’s return.

The brokerage firm went to the local sheriff’s office to file a criminal complaint against Spadoni. Spadoni was arrested on 7 April for theft greater than $25,000, bank fraud and illegal transmission of monetary funds, the sheriff’s office announced. Spadoni is currently out on a $150,000 bond, according to the New York Times, and has also been fired from her job as a dispatcher.

“She has no legal claim to that money even if it was put in there by mistake. It was an accounting error,” captain Jason Rivarde, spokesperson for the Jefferson parish sheriff’s office, told local news site Nola.com.

The sheriff’s office, through an investigation, determined that Spadoni used some of the money to buy a new house and car, specifically a 2021 Hyundai Genesis sports utility vehicle, which can cost up to $70,000. Rivarde said that their office and Charles Schwab were able to reclaim all but a quarter of the money.

While accidental bank transfers are extremely rare, they can happen. In 2015, a teen in Georgia who was mistakenly wired $30,000 by his bank was sentenced to 10 years on probation for spending the money on a BMW.