How did a Georgia teen spend nearly $30,000 that was not his?(Read article summary)
A bank teller error put $30,000 into the wrong checking account, the teen who wrongfully spent the money has been sentenced to probation.
Ever check your bank statement and happen to see an extra $30,000 in there?
Well you would have if you were Steven Fields. The 18-year-old resident of the small Georgia town of Hull checked his account balance one day last March to find a large sum sitting his checking account, through no effort on the part of Fields, according to the Athens Banner-Herald who first reported the story.
It all began last year on March 7 after another Steven Fields of Hull, this one age 70, deposited a $31,000 check at the First Citizen's Bank. Apparently the teller accidentally put the money the checking account of Steven Fields the Younger.
Not questioning the source of this cash infusion, the teenage Fields withdrew $20,000 and spent another $5,000, according to the report. The elder Fields noticed his money was missing on March 17, and called the bank to notify them. The bank discovered the error, but by then it was too late and money had been withdrawn.
The Banner-Herald reported that the teenage Fields returned to the bank the next day to withdraw more money, and the teller notified him of their mistake and asked him to return the money, but Fields insisted the money was from his inheritance from his grandmother. A deputy visited the younger Fields at his home, and did not buy Fields' assertion that the cash was from a family estate, then told him to return it to avoid prosecution, according to the Banner-Herald. ABC News reports that Fields never returned to the bank by the deadline the bank set.
"I informed Mr. Fields that the bank wanted the money back as soon as possible," the police report stated. "Mr. Fields stated that he would go to the bank and talk with Mrs. Bryant and try to settle this situation without going to jail."
This week, the teenage Fields was sentenced to ten years probation, on top of paying the money back to Mr. Fields. The elder Fields had earned the $31,000 after selling land, according to WGCL, the Atlanta CBS affiliate. According to the WGCL report, at one point in time both Fields lived on the same street in Hull, but did not know each other.
"The daddy apologized about a dozen times that he was sorry it happened and the boy said he was sorry. That's about all he said,” Fields told WGCL-TV.
The teller responsible for the error lost her job, which the 70 year old Fields did not think was warranted. "That's the only thing that upset me was that my friend lost her job,” the elder Fields told WGCL.
According to ABC 13 in Houston, the adolescent Fields spent the money at a car dealership, various shops, and a fast-food restaurant. WGCL reported Fields had purchased a BMW.
For the younger Fields, things may get worse before they get better, as he already had spent a significant portion of the money, according to multiple reports. On top of it all Fields was recently charged with possession of illegal drugs, according to WGCL. This charge could result in Fields needing to carry out part of his punishment in jail, according to the report.
“They [anyone with a pending sentence] can come back before the judge on that new charge and have a portion their sentence that they already have revoked, which means they would have to serve a portion of that sentence in jail,” Sam Small, of the Madison County District Attorney's office, told WGCL.