Paypal's $92 Quadrillion Mistake Caps Fun Year of Bank Blunders

Joe Goldman  |

For a brief moment, Chris Reynolds of Media, Pa. became the richest man of all-time, superseding the combined net worth of every billionaire on earth by a wide, wide margin.

Paypal, a subsidiary of eBay (EBAY) , accidentally credited Reynolds with $92,233,720,368,547,800, or over $92 quadrillion. Paypal bit off a little more than they could chew with this transaction, as parent company eBay only has $6.8 billion in cash on hand.

Of course, Reynolds couldn’t keep the fortune for very long because Paypal confiscated the funds by the time Reynolds logged in. The company will make a charitable donation on Reynolds’ behalf to make up for the “inconvenience,” although fiscal heartbreak is a more accurate description of Reynolds’ story.

If he had kept the money, Reynolds told the Philadelphia Daily News that he would have paid down United States’ $16 trillion national debt and purchased the Philadelphia Phillies. No word yet on how Reynolds would have spent the remaining $92.07 quadrillion.

With the rise of online banking, monetary errors of smaller proportion seem to be a common occurrence these days, and Reynolds’ story brings back fond memories of these recent banking blunders.

January 2012: Indian schoolteacher receives 496 billion rupees

Parijat Saha accidentally received 496 billion rupees, or $9.8 billion, in his account at the State Bank of India. According to MSN Money, Saha only earned $700 per month as a schoolteacher, and his $9.8 billion balance came close to India’s entire $11.5 billion education budget.

Saha was a good samaritan and immediately reported the mistake to the bank. The man in the following story, however, wasn’t so righteous.


May 2012: Bank Error Sends Pennsylvania Man on $70,000 Spree

When Joseph Bucci of Trevose, Pennsylvania found $69,300 in his account, he went on a shopping binge of epic proportions. According to ABC News, Bucci purchased food, clothes, furniture, a Pontiac, a trip to Orlando, and even a golden retriever.

“I guess he thought he was in elementary school and found a quarter on the ground and said ‘Finders keepers, losers weepers’” Sgt. Andrew Aninsman told ABC News.

Bucci had accidentally received a mortgage payment from Wells Fargo, which was intended for another account. He was later charged with theft of property lost and receiving stolen property. He is facing a possible jail sentence of 7-14 years.


June 2013: Sleep deprivation causes $293 million mistake

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A bank clerk at Germany’s Commerzbank reportedly dozed off while making a transaction, causing him to hold the number 2 on his keyboard. According to CNN Money, the clerk entered 222,222,222.22 euros as an online transaction, considerably higher than the 62 euros he intended to enter.

While the mistake was completely inexcusable, the sleepy clerk wasn’t the only employee to blame. A colleague, who was found to have spent less than 1.4 seconds examining over 600 payments, approved the transaction without even reviewing it.


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