If an extra hundred thousand dollars showed up in my bank account, I'm not sure what I'd do. Stephen McDow found himself in that exact situation last September when a mysterious $110,000 showed up in his account, courtesy of the IRS. The tax refund was intended for a 67-year-old woman, but accidentally found its way into McDow's hands. And he wasn't letting go.
The Laguna Beach resident started spending the free money, fast. He paid off student loans and paid off his mortgage. Seems like a logical, responsible place to start when spending money that's not yours. But, as tends to happen when things are too good to be true, the IRS found out about the error, and McDow is currently facing up to four years in prison. There's a lesson in here for all of us.
If at first the IRS deposits a crazy amount of money into your bank account, try try again to return it. McDow is being charged with a felony of grand theft for misappropriation of lost property, and is currently being held on bail for $110,000 (poetic, no?).
The confusion began when the woman whose money this is filed with the IRS, but failed to notify them that she changed her account number. McDow was consequently assigned her old number, and boom. Tax refund from the stars. When the woman found out that McDow had her money, she, you know, demanded it back. McDow, having spent half of it already, offered to pay her back in monthly installments, which, of course, she declined.
Can't say I blame her. But the poor guy. It's not like he bought a fancy car and blew all the dough on strip clubs. I know that it doesn't matter how he spent it, but still. Can't he get some brownie points for misappropriating lost property in a responsible manner? Maybe he and the woman can go halfies since she gave the wrong info to the IRS and he just thought it was his lucky day and paid some bills?
What would you do if you were the judge in this case?
Photo via borman818/Flickr