The 23-year-old British woman who was ordered to pay back $88,000 that was mistakenly deposited into her account says that her punishment is unfair, alleging that she’s being targeted because of her good looks.
Michaela Hutchings was ordered to pay back all of the money that was mistakenly deposited into her bank account by the Lichfield District Council last year. When Hutchings, a single mom, discovered the money in her account while attempting to withdraw cash, she decided to go on a shopping spree.
Hutchings immediately spent $8,000 on designer handbags, shoes, and sunglasses, gave her mother $1,700, and paid another $1,700 in court fees before putting the remaining $68,000 in her savings account.
When the mistake was discovered, officials at Lichfield Council called the police and had Hutchings arrested for spending the cash. Hutchings pleaded guilty in March to dishonestly retaining a wrongly credited bank transfer, and although she was initially sentenced to unpaid work and community service, during a confiscation hearing this past week, the 23-year-old was ordered to pay back all of the money by Christmas or face 20 months in jail.
“I've done wrong but I'm only human, the same as everyone else. They're punishing me because of the way I look,” said Hutchings. “If I wasn't much to look at and played the card of 'Oh, I only get this much a month, I was in a bit of a sticky situation' I reckon I'd have got a slap on the wrist and just paid back a fiver a week. I pleaded guilty but the only person guilty is the person who put the money in my account. I don't think I should have been punished the way I was. It's just outrageous.”
So far, Hutchings has returned the money she put in her savings account and has auctioned off the clothes she bought to start paying back the rest, but as of right now, she can only afford to pay back a little at a time and is unsure if she’ll be able to get it all paid back by Christmas. Hutchings claims that she would never have touched the money if her now ex-boyfriend didn’t take her to the mall to go on a shopping spree, and the 23-year-old mom believes that the repayment timeframe is “unfair.”
“'It's a bit outrageous, isn't it? My life has been turned upside down by all this,” said Hutchings. “The person at Lichfield Council who did it shouldn't have a job. They have ruined a part of my life with the stress and abuse I've been through.”
Sources: Daily Mail, Birmingham Mail, Metro, NY Daily News