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How Did an Australian Bartender Acquire $1.6 Million?

The average salary for a bartender in the United States is $15.12 per hour. Given this hourly age, it would be quite impossible to raise a million dollars in a short amount of time. But did you know that an Australian bartender was able to get $1.6 million?

In 2011, a 29-year-old Australian bartender discovered an ATM glitch that allowed him to withdraw far over his balance. He managed to spend around $1.6 million of the bank’s money in a four-and-a-half-month binge.

The ATM Glitch that Made a Simple Bartender a Millionaire

Dan Saunders was out drinking in his hometown of Wangaratta, three hours north of Melbourne when he discovered a bank glitch that made him rich for a short time. He’d left the bar to get cash and found an ATM that let him withdraw far more than his balance. After some trial and error, the 29-year-old realized he’d discovered a loophole and took advantage of it.

Dan managed to spend around $1.6 million of the bank’s money in a five-month binge. He threw extravagant parties, chartered private jets, and paid off his friends’ university tuition until, predictably, the cops caught up with him. (Source: Vice)

What Did Dan Saunders Have to Say About the Incident?

Vice spoke with Dan about his magical money tree, including how it worked, how it felt to be an accidental millionaire, and what it’s like to go back to working as a bartender for $22 an hour. When asked about what had transpired during that time. 

Well I was out for the night, trying to get a balance on my account but it kept on giving the message “balance unavailable at this time.” So I transferred $200 from my credit account to my savings and it said “transaction canceled” and spat the card out. I thought that was super odd, so I decided to try and get $200 out of my savings account just to see what would happen. It gave me the money so I went back to the bar and continued drinking. After I left the bar I was walking home past the same ATM. I’d been thinking about how odd the whole thing was so I put the card in again and started playing around. I transferred another $200 and got the money out. Then $500, then $600, just to see what would happen. I think it was a combination of being tipsy and bored but I just pushed the envelope and tried again and again. It was like a magic trick.

Dan Saunders

Vice followed up with a question on what was happening currently with Saunders and the issue? 

Well, the next morning I figured I must have dreamed the whole thing. But lo and behold, the money was in the wallet next to me. So I called to get a balance on my savings account, which was now $2,000 in debt. I figured there was a lag between what the ATM gave me and what my bank balance was, which meant that whatever I spent, I could cover it by doing a simple transfer every night between my credit account and my savings. I could create the money by doing a transfer between 1 and 3 in the morning, which is when I realized ATMs go offline.

Dan Saunders

(Source: Vice)

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