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If you woke up this morning to find a suitcase filled with billions of dollars on your doorstep, would you tell the authorities or catch a private jet to the Caymans? An Indian schoolteacher had to answer a similar question himself when he recently discovered $9.8 billion inexplicably added to his bank account, the BBC reported.
Let’s be honest here: For a man who pockets a paltry $700 salary per month, it’s highly unlikely anyone would have blamed him (much) for thanking his lucky stars and heading straight for the ATM.
But Parijat Saha’s conscience won over in the end. He immediately called up the State Bank of India and alerted them to the shocking error. (See what to do with a $25,000 windfall.)
“I called up a friend in the bank and joked, maybe money is overflowing in (the) bank, that’s why your system has remitted so much money into my account,” Saha told the BBC.
Many others might not have been as scrupulous if put in the same position, but according to Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of credit card comparison site CardHub.com, Saha’s decision to come clean was pretty much his only option.
“If you see money in your bank account that does not belong to you, you should immediately notify your bank,” he said. “Not only is this the right thing to do, but it is impossible for anyone to get away with it. Sooner or later someone will wonder where the money went and at that point it will be trivial for the bank to figure out that you were the unintended recipient.”
For accounting errors of this magnitude, it would haven taken both the sender and the receiving bank to seriously screw something up, he added.
The State Bank of India told the BBC the funds weren’t officially cleared and available to Saha, even though they appeared in his account. But they’re still keeping mum on what exactly went wrong.