Runaway millionaire jailed
Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:02p.m.
By Angela Beswick
The man dubbed Westpac’s ‘runaway millionaire’ has been jailed.
Hui 'Leo' Gao, who had $10 million mistakenly deposited into his bank account, was sentenced to four years and seven months in prison when he appeared in the Rotorua District Court this morning.
His ex-girlfriend Kara Hurring was found guilty by a jury trial of 25 theft charges, three of using a bank card for pecuniary advantage and two of laundering money.
She was sentenced to nine months home detention and ordered to pay reparations of $75 a week - to cover the $11,800 that she spent.
Gao, 31, had earlier admitted seven theft charges.
Gao applied for a $100,000 overdraft to revamp his ailing Rotorua service station in April 2009 but $10m was mistakenly credited to his account instead.
He transferred $6.7m to accounts in China, declaring he was “f***ing rich”, and the pair fled for that country soon after.
Westpac was able to recover $2.9m but more than $3m has not been accounted for.
After more than two years on the run, Gao was arrested trying to enter Hong Kong from China in September last year and extradited to New Zealand two months later.
Hurring, who was arrested on her return to New Zealand last year after 22 months on the run, was in May found guilty of all 30 charges relating to the overdraft error.
Timeline: The runaway millionaires
April 2009: Gao applies for a $100,000 overdraft with Westpac to revamp his
petrol station but $10m is accidentally deposited into his account.
April-May 2009: Gao transfers $6.7m to overseas accounts, the pair tell
friends they're going on holiday and they both head to China.
May 2009: Westpac learns of its error and freezes Gao's account.
February 2011: Hurring is arrested on arrival into New Zealand after
returning home voluntarily.
September 2011: Following an international manhunt lasting more than two
years, Gao is arrested trying to enter Hong Kong from China.
December 2011: Gao is extradited to New Zealand under police guard.
May 2012: Hurring is found guilty by a jury of 30 charges relating to the
overdraft error, including theft, using a bank card for pecuniary advantage and
June 2012: Gao pleads guilty to seven theft charges in Auckland District
Court. He had originally been charged with 16 counts of theft and two of money
August 24, 2012: Gao is jailed for four years and seven months, and Hurring
is sentenced to nine months' home detention and ordered to pay $11,830
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
27/08/2012 8:08:21 a.m.
Dalton, do you know what an overdraft is? It isn't a long term loan, and even if it was, anyone who receives 1,000 times more than they asked for has obviously received the facility in error. To withdraw the money and disappear overseas showed he knew it was wrong, and theft.Does your own bank know about your opinion of its loan? They should be worried.
25/08/2012 1:40:24 p.m.
I hope the person that caused this problem lost their job. They after all shouldn't have added two zero's to the amount. Isn't he just guilty of not repaying the loan for a few years?
24/08/2012 5:39:28 p.m.
TV3 News are still saying that Westpac bank mistakenly deposited 10 million dollars into Leo Gao's account. This is incorrect. The mistake Westpac made was that they increased the account's overdraft facility to this figure ie when the account had a zero balance there was still an allowable $10,000,000 to be spent. This is quite a different matter than if a straight out amount had been deposited from the bank - unlikely in any event anyway!
24/08/2012 3:49:32 p.m.
This stinks to the high heavens. Westpac need to be accountable for their sloppy blunders. I bet James Parker, the pedophile teacerh, gets less than four years prison. I bet my life savings on that. Good ole NZ criminal (in)justice system. Take to the streets kiwis!
24/08/2012 3:27:12 p.m.
John Davis wrote:
Steal from the banks and you get 4 years in jail steal hundreds of millions from investors and you get home detention.
24/08/2012 3:00:31 p.m.
Maybe if he was a KIWI he may have got 3 yrs or less, like those who robbed customers of finance company!s from high places.
24/08/2012 1:08:59 p.m.
So Westpac approved a loan and the customer withdrew the funds. What exactly was the crime? He didn't steal it. it was a LOAN.
24/08/2012 1:02:23 p.m.
:O it took 5 months to charge him after capture? are you serious?
24/08/2012 12:38:29 p.m.
If I was Leo GAO I would be suing westpac...plain and simple!
24/08/2012 12:27:40 p.m.
with more then 3 millions still not been accounted for works out around $54 thousand dollars each month he spend in jail. Not bad...shame on NZ judicial system. he should of get more
All 350 passengers on board a commuter train that derailed e...
The woman who first tried to lift the lid on paedophile Jame...
32 months after the first earthquake, dozens of Christchurch...
Tourists in Christchurch are being kicked out of the interna...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.