Community, Crime

Caravan cash theft accused caught

A bank-transaction gone wrong saw Cathy Hawker lose her life savings. Photo: Emma Filipov-Bell.

A stranger who allegedly refused to return a Canvastown woman’s life savings she received by mistake has been caught by police.

The woman, who lives in the North Island, was caught by police investigating claims she had taken $8000 that was not hers.

Cathy Hawker spent years saving $8000 to buy a campervan.

But a mistake in making the payment means she has lost all her hard-earned money to the woman who then allegedly refused to return the ill-gotten gains.

The service station assistant wants to warn others that a simple mistake could cost them dearly.

“I wanted to have some adventure,” she says. “Go away. Have a bit of fun in life.

“It was something for me.”

Cathy says she transferred $8000 to her friend Johnny who she was buying the caravan from.

But when Johnny called to check when the money would clear, Cathy realised she had made a terrible mistake.

“I’d put in a double-oh (00) instead of 09,” Cathy says. “That was all my savings.

“I felt like a fool. How could I make such a mistake?”

Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden says getting money back from an incorrect payment can be a tricky process.

“It relies on honesty and goodwill,” she says.

“It’s very disappointing in this case the recipient didn’t return the funds,” Nicola says.

Police investigated the matter as theft and the woman is expected to appear in court on 24 February.

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