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Mind, Money, Strange

Houston BofA ATM Gives $100 Bills by Mistake for Hours. Bank Says Keep It.

Here’s a strange accidental free money event in Houston, Texas. The bank could have told people to return the overage or be charged with robbery. It may have been possible to just take the amount people were overpaid out of customer’s existing bank accounts with a note that they corrected an error. Bank of America opted to just let insurance pay for the loss, free money, no penalty, “our mistake.”

Customers swarmed a Houston Bank of America branch over the weekend, fights breaking out as they vied for hundred-dollar bills being spewed out by a rogue ATM in lieu of $10 bills.

Cars lined up by the dozens filled with banking customers hungry for a windfall after a customer who had lucked out posted on social media upon withdrawing money from the lucky machine.

Instead of the $10 he requested, a $100 bill landed in his hand. The customer posted about it, prompting a rush on the ATM as people flocked there looking for some free cash, authorities told KPRC2 News in Houston. It was two hours before authorities were called to quell the melee and stem the flow of money.

Via DailyNews

An ATM was taken out of service in Houston after customers reported it was distributing $100 bills instead of $20 bills.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said the Bank of America ATM was swarmed by customers Sunday evening after a social media post alerted locals that the cash machine near Interstate 45 and Farm to Market Road 1960 in Harris County had given out a $100 bill instead of the requested $20.

Police said fights broke out at the ATM before deputies arrived to calm the scene and stop customers from exploiting the apparent glitch.

The ATM remained out of service Monday while the bank investigated. It was unclear how many $100 bills had been mistakenly distributed and whether customers who took them had committed a crime.


It may be unclear to UPI how many $100 bills were mistaken given out, but the ATM owner will know.

At 3 minutes per transaction, with maximum daily withdrawals set, with, let’s say 8 hours of giving away free money, and with limits as to how much each machine holds ($10,000 to $200,000, but sometimes less), what could be the maximum loss?

Who fights for a chance to have their bank account involved in a mess like this? A YouTube comment explains:

People had bought money cards at a local Walgreens hoping to use it at the ATM… I don’t know if it would have worked. This area, we live pay check to pay check. I hear so much about the demographics… that is what it is… a pay check to pay check kind of area. I myself have a 20 year old car and sleeping on an inflatable mattress. I would be tempted to do the same… I’m so close to finishing college… I’m just not willing to ruin my future.

Via AA, YouTube

So you show up in a hoodie with a Walgreens money card, rob a bank of $90 via an ATM and then what? Nothing. The bank let everybody keep the extra money. Happy shopping.

“This was an incident at a single ATM in Houston caused when a vendor incorrectly loaded $100 bills in place of $10 bills,” the bank said in a statement obtained by KPRC 2 News. We have resolved the matter. Customers will be able to keep the additional money dispensed.”


It is interesting to watch what this possibly simulated universe rewards. Who pays for the bank’s loss? Insurance. FDIC itself does not insure against robbery, but I believe it would be covered by a banker’s blanket bond.

From the FDIC website under the heading “What’s not insured?”:

Robberies and Other Thefts

Stolen funds may be covered by what’s called a banker’s blanket bond, which is a multi-purpose insurance policy a bank purchases to protect itself from fire, flood, earthquake, robbery, defalcation, embezzlement and other causes of disappearing funds. In any event, an occurrence such as a fire or bank robbery may result in a loss to the bank but should not result in a loss to the bank’s customers.

Via MoneySE

What is defalcation?

Defalcation implies that funds have in some way been mishandled, particularly where an officer or agent has breached his or her fiduciary duty. It is commonly applied to public officers who fail to account for money received by them in their official capacity, or to officers of corporations who misappropriate company funds for their own private use.

Colloquially, the term is used to mean any type of bad faith, deceit, misconduct, or dishonesty.

Via Legal-Dictionary

Did an ATM vendor employee load hundred dollar bills into the ten’s compartment by accident? On purpose? We may never know, but even as a mistake, I think it is still considered defalcation.

In Nigeria, almost 20 billion of their dollars were lost (the equivalent of 54 million US dollars) to fraud this year.

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), recorded 20,768 cases that gulped N19.77 billion in the first six months of 2018.

The report revealed that fraud and forgery incidences were perpetrated by both bank staff and non-bank people. In the period under review, the actual loss by banks to fraud and forgery amounted to N12.06 billion, compared with the N0.78 billion and $0.03 million, suffered in the first half of 2017.

… frauds will take place if the workers decide to make themselves willing tools in the hands of the criminally- minded.

To mitigate this flaw, it is pertinent that the banks carry out proper integrity checks on their prospective employees, especially those being recruited into sensitive positions. The increasingly ebbing moral tone in the society makes this decidedly essential.

Via Leadership

Beware the ebbing moral tone in society.


About Xeno

E pluribus unum.


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