Melbourne couple on trial for spending mistake $10m payment

A Victorian couple who were mistakenly refunded $10.5 million by an international cryptocurrency company and who went on a spending spree including buying four houses believed they had won a competition, a court has heard.

Oct 11, 2022, updated Oct 11, 2022
Photo: AAP/Sergio Dionisio

Photo: AAP/Sergio Dionisio

Thevamanogari Manivel and her partner Jatinder Singh appeared by video link from prison in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday, where they were committed to stand trial over theft and other charges. intended to refund Manivel $100, but she was erroneously transferred $10,474,143 in May 2021. The company did not notice the mistake until an audit was conducted in December 2021.

A worker in Bulgaria, who processed the refund, had entered the wrong numbers into an Excel spreadsheet, compliance officer Michi Chan Fores said.

“It was a manual process and the records were being kept in Excel,” she told the court.

Once processed, the refund payment request was sent to’s payment provider in Australia, who then transferred the money into Manivel’s Commonwealth Bank of Australia account.

The account was in Singh’s name but the transfer may have been sent to Manivel’s account because he was using her bank card to buy cryptocurrency, the court heard.

Singh allegedly believed he had won the money after being sent a notification from the app about a competition to win $10 million.

However, Fores said there was no such competition and did not send out push notifications to tell users about competition winnings.

The money was used to buy four houses, $4 million was transferred to a Malaysian bank account and the rest bought vehicles, art and furniture, Victoria Police Senior Constable Conor Healy told the court.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A majority has since been paid back but about $3 million remains outstanding, he said, with civil action underway to freeze the property and get money back from relatives who were given gifts.

Manivel pleaded not guilty to three charges, including dealing with proceeds of crime and theft from Commonwealth Bank for withdrawing the money.

She was arrested at Melbourne Airport on March 17 this year while allegedly trying to leave Australia to fly home to Malaysia with about $11,000 in cash, which forms another charge.

Singh pleaded not guilty two charges, including theft for withdrawing the money from the bank.

Manivel’s lawyer Jessica Willard applied for her client to be released on bail with a $10,000 surety from her brother.

She said Manivel did not know there were criminal charges being brought against her when she tried to fly home to see her ex-husband and children.

Manivel has been in custody since her arrest more than six months ago and faced another year behind bars before the trial begins, Willard argued.

The prosecution opposed bail as Manivel was a flight risk and her release could hinder the recovery of outstanding money.

Magistrate Peter Reardon granted Manivel bail on strict conditions, including that she must surrender her passport and cannot attend any points of departure.

Manivel and Singh will face directions hearing in the County Court on November 8.


Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.