Couple who mistakenly received $10.5 million from thought they won contest, court hears

A Victorian couple who mistakenly received $10.5 million from an international cryptocurrency company thought they had won a competition when they received the money, a court has heard.

Thevamanogari Manivel and his partner, Jatinder Singh, appeared by video link from jail at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday when they were committed to stand trial on theft and other charges. intended to refund Manivel $100 but it was mistakenly transferred $10.47 million in May 2021. The company did not notice the mistake until an audit was done in December 2021.

A worker in Bulgaria, who processed the refund, had entered the wrong numbers into an Excel spreadsheet, said compliance officer Michi Chan Fores. “It was a manual process and the records were kept in Excel,” she told the court.

Once processed, the refund request was sent to’s payment provider in Australia, who then transferred the money to 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 his bank card to purchase cryptocurrency, the court heard.

Singh reportedly believed he had won the money after receiving a notification from the app about a contest to win $10 million.

However, Fores said there was no such competition, and did not send out push notifications informing users of competition winnings.

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

A majority has since been repaid, but about $3 million remains unpaid, Healy said, with civil action pending to freeze the property and recover money from relatives who received gifts.

Manivel pleaded not guilty to three counts, including trafficking in the proceeds of crime and robbing the Commonwealth Bank for withdrawing the money.

She was arrested at Melbourne Airport on March 17 as she allegedly tried to leave Australia to return home to Malaysia with around $11,000 in cash – which is another charge. Singh pleaded not guilty to theft for stealing money from the bank.

Manivel’s attorney, Jessica Willard, requested that her client be released on bail with a $10,000 bond from her brother.

However, prosecutors have opposed bail because police believe she could obstruct the course of justice if released by preventing the collection of the remaining $3 million.

There are also fears that Manivel poses a flight risk after she was arrested trying to leave Australia.

Magistrate Peter Reardon has committed Manivel and Singh to stand trial in Melbourne County Court and will decide whether to grant Manivel bail on Tuesday afternoon.

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