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Detroit man gambled away more than $1.5M after ATM error

5:19 PM, Jun 19, 2012   |    comments
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By SUSANNA KIM, ABC News

A Detroit man is facing 15 months in prison after he was able to withdraw unlimited ATM cash from his Bank of America account that only held a few dollars.

Ronald Page, 55, took advantage of a bank mistake that placed his account into a "pay all' status that allowed him to withdraw unlimited overdrafts, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit said. And withdraw he allegedly did: From August 1 to 18 in 2009, Page hit the ATMs, mostly at casinos, and cashiers --for $1,543,104.

Page, a retired worker after 30 years at General Motors, had maintained an average balance of about $100 in his account from Dec. 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009, according to his indictment.

Page pled guilty on March 7 to theft of bank funds. His sentencing will take place on June 27.

Page could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Richard Morgan, did not immediately return a request for comment.

A spokeswoman for Bank of America provided a statement to ABC News saying, "We can't provide specifics in regards to Mr. Page's account as it is proprietary and because his case is still in the courts, we are unable to comment."

Court papers state that Page was a frequent gambler at casinos in the Detroit area and Las Vegas from January 2009 to February 2010.

Between February 2009 and August 2009, his Bank of America account was used primarily for gambling, a court document states, in which he would deposit his winnings and withdraw amounts from $2,000 to $50,000.

Then on August 1, because of the bank error, he withdrew $312,000 from ATMs at Greektown Casino in Detroit, then $51,727 the same day from MGM Grand Casino. Finally, on August 18, Bank of America placed a hold on his account when it was overdrawn by over $1.5 million, his indictment states.

But the party came to an end August 18, when his attempt to withdraw $52,000 from his account at Greektown Casino was denied. He also went to the Motor City Casino on August 19 and attempted to withdraw $51,400 from his account but was again denied.

Bank of America advised him on August 21, 2009 that his account was overdrawn by over $1.5 million and demanded immediate repayment. Page has not repaid Bank of America.

The U.S. Attorney's Office recommended 15 months in prison for Page and that the court order restitution to Bank of America for the $1,543,104.

"In this case, the bank's glitch allowed the defendant to lose a significant amount of money that was not even his in the first place," states the U.S. Attorney's sentencing memorandum, filed on June 11. "The fact that defendant acted on an impulse does not minimize the seriousness of his conduct and the need for a custodial sentence."

They also recommended Page be prohibited from gambling activity, lotteries, or wagering of any kind and from entering the premises of any gambling casinos, horse tracks, bingo parlors, or dog races or wherever gambling activity is conducted.

Prosecutors noted that Page is not a violent offender and his age and background indicate a low risk of committing violent crimes in the future.

"If his gambling addiction is not addressed, he is very likely to cause further financial hardship to himself and his family," the memorandum states.

ABC News

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