One of the best feelings is checking your account and discovering that you have more money in there than you expected. It’s just like finding cash in your pocket that you forgot you’d put there. But in some cases, this can lead to trouble. If the amount is extremely off, it might mean that something went wrong, and a correction needs to be made.
When this happens, you should most likely call the bank, and let them know something is off. That’s what the Williams’ should have done when they discovered two extra digits attached to their account balance. Read on to find out what they did instead.
Business As Usual
Robert and Tiffany Williams woke up like any other day in Montoursville, Pennsylvania. It was the start of June, 2019. Like most couples in the United States, they live a rather ordinary life.
The couple is fans of car racing, and have a Facebook page called Williams Motorsports. On the page, you can see photos of Robert with various cars and captions that acknowledge his wife, Tiffany, and her support of him. Little did she know, the couple was about to face a decision, and Tiffany should have never gone along with Robert’s poor judgment.
The Happy Couple
The Williams live on Cypress street and, like all middle-class Americans, have bills to pay. The train of bills eating up their paychecks was neverending. Still, the couple looks very happy together.
Anyone who is tight on cash is familiar with checking their bank statements frequently, sometimes multiple times in just one day. So when a large deposit hit the couple’s account on May 31st, it couldn’t have been long before they realized what had happened.
The Bank Made A Mistake
As it turns out, the Williams’ account had gone from being a little over a thousand dollars to increase to $120,000. It was like the lottery, only they didn’t even have to buy a ticket. Sure enough, their bank, BB&T, have accidentally deposited the amount directly into their account.
You would think their first instinct would be to call the bank to confirm the transaction. For all they knew, the bank’s online platform could have been showing an inaccurate number.
Stacks On Stacks
Instead of immediately calling the bank, the couple essentially saw the new amount as their own. After all, if the computer says it, it must be fact, right? Well, that ideology would ultimately bring the couple into some hot water with the authorities.
For whatever reason, in the moment, concern about what would happen if they spent all of this money was lost on the couple. Instead, they saw dollar signs.
They Blew Through The Cash
Their plan was more or less to spend the cash. It seems counterintuitive to spend the cash as quickly as possible, but that’s pretty much how it went. They spent six figures from June 3rd-June 19th.
You would think that the sudden string of large purchases would be even more of an alert to the bank. For whatever reason, the charade continued for weeks as the couple splurged on items with high price tags.
Cars, Cars, Cars
For someone like Robert who loves cars, that’s the first thing his mind probably went to when it came to what they could buy. So long as they didn’t get any off-the-charts luxury vehicles, that $120,000 could spread very far.
Sure enough, the couple made several trips to car dealerships in the short couple of weeks before they were found out. The couple somehow figured that if they spent all the money, it would be discovered that the mistake occured.
They Bought A Racecar
Naturally, on the top of the wish list was a racecar. Buying cars is usually a long process, but they somehow managed to buy a racecar, a chevy, and an SUV in a matter of weeks.
They also used the money to do some repairs to the cars they already owned. Most people would be happy just to have a single working vehicle that they didn’t have to pay for anymore. It appears that the couple placed cars high on their priority list.
Big Fans Of The Open Road
The couple didn’t stop at their three new cars on top of their previous ones. They also threw in an RV and a car trailer. With all of that transporation they could have relocated to another place in one trip.
People who love to travel would probably enjoy having so many modes of transportation at their disposal. But it also seems like the couple had too much money than they knew what to do with.
They Also Gave A Little Away
The couple used the money to pay some of their bills but also gave some to friends and family members who were in a bind. The amount they spent on others totaled to $15,000. Considering the fact that they spent over $100,000 before getting caught, that 15k seems like chump change.
Still, it must have felt like Christmas morning to the people they received money from. The elation clearly muddled their judgment, because no one spoke up about all this money the Williams’ had mysteriously come into.
Supposedly, No One Knew
The couple carried on as usual and supposedly fooled those around them. A man who said he was Robert’s father told WNEP News, “I have no idea, I don’t even know what’s going on. I’m just the dad, I have no idea what’s going on, I don’t know what to tell you.”
Somehow the happy couple hid their trips to purchase vehicles and the subsequent vehicles they had amassed. Even if they had made up a story about how they got the money, it would seem irresponsible to be spending it so freely.
The Scheme Seems Impossible
One of the couple’s neighbors, Nate Weaver, told WNEP News, “That is kind of shocking, with all the procedures the banks have set up, checking and double-checking and triple-checking, there’s no way anybody gets away with that stuff.”
The couple thought they actually had gotten away with it. They made the assumption too quickly, however. Before long, they would realize the mistake they’d made. They stuck to the plan even after the bank realized their mistake.
Then Their Account Dropped Big Time
The company who was missing their money contacted BB&T to ask about the deposit that never went through. Once the bank realized their mistake, they immediately credited the business the $120,000 that they were missing.
The bank also charged the Williams’ $107,000 in overdraft fees for all that they had spent without actually having funds for. The couple remained seemingly aloof. The cars were not returned, no one was contacted. They simply pretended nothing had changed.
Then They Started Getting Notifications
BB&T had no reason to think that the couple would pay them back after weeks of them refusing to contact the bank. After resolving the issue on their end, the bank contacted Tiffany Williams directly.
Without a response, they tried again the following day. Tiffany said she would speak with her husband about setting up a payment plan. The bank called several more times after the couple failed to do so, but was unable to get a hold of them.
Ignorance Is Not Bliss
The couple was clearly in denial about the severity of what they had done. One neighbor told WNEP, “I would check in with the bank first before I did anything, I’m not that dumb but some people do stupid things sometimes.”
They were far too deep to back out now. Perhaps they thought that the responsibility would fall on the bank and that they’d be able to keep their many cars without having to pay anyone. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
It Was The Teller’s Mistake
As it turns out, the whole ordeal started with a teller. The deposit was made at a BB&T in Georgia. The bank teller accidentally mistyped an account number, which routed the money to the Williams’.
The mistake could have been made by anyone, especially someone who types in numbers all day. It’s incredible that such a small error could turn into a huge criminal case. Unfortunately, the couple didn’t take the time to consider this honest mistake and decided to run with it.
It Was Time To Call The Authorities
After multiple attempts to contact the Williams’, the bank had no choice but to notify the authorities. The couple seemed to be overwhelmed by the six figures they owed back to the bank, but BB&T was willing to work with them to find a payment plan so they wouldn’t need to undergo criminal assessment.
After the couple failed to oblige, they found themselves in a much worse scenario: a legal case where both of them faced four felony charges and up to ten years in prison.
The Couple Was Taken In
After a police investigation, law enforcement officers arrested Tiffany and Robert on four felony charges of theft and receiving stolen property. The couple was interrogated separately, and each told the same story.
They admitted to knowing what they were doing was wrong and that they were in it together. Since the couple did not notify their family and friends of what they were doing and took full responsibility for their actions, those who received money from them will not have to pay the money back, only Tiffany and Robert will.
They Somehow Made Bail
The couple managed to get set free when their bail ($25,000 each) was made. How they pulled this off is a mystery, and the couple has remained quiet. While they managed to hold back comments, for the most part, Robert finally spoke up at their arraignment hearing.
According to WNEP, he said, “All I’m going to say is we took some bad legal advice from some people and it probably wasn’t the best thing in the end.”
Not The First Time
Public records indicate that Robert Williams had been convicted before, back in 2001. He was charged with writing a bad check and committing “theft by deception-false impression.” The court ordered him to community service and he had to pay back $4,000.
If Robert had learned his lesson at the expense of 4k, he wouldn’t have taken a $120,000 risk. He stole 30 times the amount he had before, which looks very poorly on his current assessment by the courts.
Hopefully The Last Time
The couple has yet to accept a plea bargain, which means they might still think that they have a case in the courtroom. Who they are going to try to pin it on is unknown. When all is said and done, we can only hope they’ll have learned their lesson.
Community service and fines haven’t been enough for Robert in the past. But it’s possible that 10 years in prison will be. Regardless, the story is a lesson for everyone to be careful about money falling into your lap.