An 88-year-old great-grandfather no longer faces the prospect of losing his home, after his community and a bank came together to raise $71,400 (£37,900) after he mistakenly transferred his funds to the wrong person.
Gordon Layton, from Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia, had been trying to transfer the large sum of money to pay for a house that had been moved onto a block of land that he owned.
Within hours of the transaction Mr Layton and his daughter, Jacqui Morrison-White, realised the error but were told that it was too late.
Both banks told Mr Layton and his daughter that there was nothing they could do. While ANZ bank said they had requested the recipient return the money, the recipient allegedly refused, and withdrew the funds over the following days.
Speaking on A Current Affair on Nine, Ms Morrison-White said that she was frustrated with the banks for not having done more to protect her father.
“I was angry because I believe the bank could have done more to stop the money disappearing. After all we told them it was a mistake on the day the money was transferred.”
She added: “This is an 88-year-old pensioner’s money that means if we don’t get it back my father has to sell his house to be able to pay the debt. How is that fair?”
In the days and weeks that followed the accidental transaction, the company that moved the house onto Mr Layton’s land began demanding payment and threatened to pursue legal action if they did not receive the money they were owed.
The octogenarian’s family began an online fundraiser to pool together resources to prevent him from losing the house. Between friends, family, and the wider community, enough money was raised to avert legal action on the part of the company.
But Mr Layton had always intended to renovate the house, and no longer had the funds to do so.
Ms Morrison-White said that she was determined to hold the banks to account and continued to follow up with them. Her efforts finally paid off.
“The ANZ bank has reached out to us directly, and they have said that they felt that there was a few internal processes of theirs that perhaps could have been carried out a little better,” she told A Current Affair.
“They’ve actually agreed to reimburse by dad a significant amount of the $71,400.
“Not all of it, but certainly a huge amount of that $71,400 is coming back from ANZ, and we, we can’t thank them enough.”
A spokesperson for the bank said: “ANZ is pleased we were able to assist Mr Layton recover a substantial amount of the funds that were mistakenly transferred”
Mr Layton told A Current Affair that he was grateful for the bank’s response.
“I was obviously pleased and surprised because it’s not often that banks are so generous. I thought very good, thank you very much.
“A big thank you to everyone that’s physically, morally or financially helped me,” he added.
Ron Stakenburg, the alleged recipient of Mr Layton’s funds, appeared in court on Monday, on charges of stealing property of value exceeding $5,000.
His trial will continue on 18 October.
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