Steven Fields will have plenty of time on his hands to think about his poor decision making. The 18-year-old Hull, GA man turned himself in on Friday and was charged with theft by taking for refusing to return $25,000 that a teller mistakenly deposited into his account.
Authorities say once Fields discovered his windfall, he immediately withdrew $20,000 cash and went on a $5,000 spending spree using his ATM card. Authorities say Fields spent the money at a car dealership, and made purchases at various stores and a fast food restaurant.
The banking error occurred on March 7, when a man walked into the First Citizens Bank on U.S. Highway 29 in Athens and made a $31,000 deposit. Several customers at the bank have the same name as the man, so the teller mistakenly put the deposit into the wrong account.
On March 17, the customer called the bank to report money missing from his account. Bank officials investigated the customer’s report and discovered the teller’s error. When Fields went into the branch to withdraw more money, a teller informed him the money was a mistake and asked him to return the cash. According to a sheriff’s report, the teenager insisted the money was an inheritance from his grandmother’s estate.
The teen eventually told sheriff’s deputies he would make arrangements with the bank to return the money. But bank officials said Fields never returned to the bank. On Wednesday, investigator Doug Martin said no charges had been filed against Fields. But after the story was picked up by the national media, Fields quickly turned himself in.