Teenager who was mistakenly overpaid 100 times his wage gets jailed for spending all the money

A teenager from Ireland is facing 4 years in jail after spending the excess money his employer paid him as wage by mistake. Karl Smith, 19, worked for two days for Industrial Insulation Specialists and was supposed to get only €196.36 ($208.47) as wage. However, due to an accounting error – a misplaced decimal point – the company deposited in his account €19,630 ($20,847). He received the money just two days before his 19th birthday. Presented with an unexpected windfall, Smith withdrew all the money in three transactions without informing the bank or his employer about the slip up. He then spent all the amount on drugs, gambling and on socializing. He also purchased a brand new PlayStation and a new bed.



He then learned three weeks later that the money did not come from the bank’s mistake but from his employer’s. The accused’s lawyer, Shaun Smyth, defended his client by saying that “an incredible temptation was presented to the teenager” when the money came through his account. The lawyer further argued Smith had been at a very low point in his life at that time, with drug debt amounting to €1,000 ($1,062), and thus “felt like all his prayers had been answered.” “It was a gift from God as far as he was concerned,” the legal counsel added. However, Judge Melanie Greally, while acknowledging the suspect’s vulnerability due to “chronic social anxiety and very low self-esteem”, argued that the amount came from the employer, and not from the bank, and thus “had undoubtedly had some effect on owner’s business.” The court sentenced Smith to four years in prison with the final two years on suspension. No money was ever recovered from the suspect, and he has not made any attempt to repay the amount.
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