Customers who received $100 bills instead of $20 bills at ATM can keep money

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter, Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - Good news for bank customers who were receiving $100 bills instead of $20 bills at an ATM in north Harris County -- they get to keep the money.

According to authorities, a person went to the Bank of America ATM near FM 1960 and I-45 around 11 p.m. Sunday to withdraw cash, but instead of getting a $20, the machine spit out a $100.

The man posted about it on social media, which caused a crowd to rush the location to try to get some free extra cash, deputies said.

Several arguments and even a few fights ensued while people waited in line to make a profit, officials said.

According to deputies, the excitement went on for about two hours before a Department of Public Safety trooper alerted the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and they swarmed the area.

People waiting quickly dispersed after authorities showed up and sheriff's deputies stood guard to make sure no one could use the ATM until the issue was resolved. 

Bank of America released a statement Monday afternoon that read, "This was an incident at a single ATM in Houston caused when a vendor incorrectly loaded $100 bills in place of $10 bills. We have resolved the matter. Customers will be able to keep the additional money dispensed."

There is no word on how many people took advantage of the ATM gaffe or how much money was withdrawn.

Had the bank demanded the money back and a person did not return it, then authorities said theft charges could be filed.

"There's no free lunch. If you receive money that you know it is not yours, and you refuse to give it back upon demand, you can, at the discretion of the district attorney, be charged with theft," 
Sgt. Joshua Nowick, Harris County Sheriff's Office, Financial Crimes Unit, said.




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