Couple sent $10.5M by claim they thought they won a prize

The duo allegedly went on a spending spree with’s funds, buying four houses, vehicles, art, furniture and gifts, but 7 million AUD has now been returned.

The Melbourne couple mistakenly sent 10.5 million Australian dollars by in 2021 is arguing in court that they thought the funds were won via a competition.

Thevamanogari Manivel and her husband Jatinder Singh are currently facing a trial in the Victoria Supreme Court over theft charges, among others after the duo allegedly went on a spending spree with’s funds last year.

Appearing via video link in Melbourne magistrates court on Oct. 11, Manivel and Singh pleaded not guilty to their respective charges, with defense being that Singh had thought he had won a contest from, and had told his wife as such.

The funds were initially sent to Manivel’s bank account in May 2021, with compliance officer Michi Chan Fores telling the court that the issue arised from an employee based in Bulgaria entering incorrect details into an Excel spreadsheet.

The account itself belonged to Singh, but the funds went to his wife’s bank account as he had been using her bank cards to purchase crypto. The firm did not realize its mistake until an audit occurred in December.

Singh claims that he thought he had won the money as he previously received a notification from the company regarding a competition, however Fores denied the existence of such competition and outlined that did not send any notifications to tell users about competition winnings.

Their charges slightly differ, as Manivel is charged with theft for withdrawing the funds from her Commonwealth bank account, negligently dealing with proceeds of crime, and trying to flee the country.

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In March, Manivel was arrested at Melbourne airport, after it was alleged that she was trying to fly home to Malaysia with roughly 11,000 AUD.

She was granted bail on strict conditions in the latest hearing, having to surrender her passport and barred from attending any points of departure.

Manivel’s lawyer argues that she was unaware of criminal charges being brought against her when trying to fly to Malaysia.

Singh is primarily facing theft charges for withdrawing’s funds from the bank. Moving forward, Manivel and Singh are set for a directions hearing in the county court on Nov. 8.

Spending spree

A police officer told the court the funds were allegedly used to buy four houses, vehicles, gifts for relatives, art and some furniture, while 4 million AUD was also sent to a bank account in Malaysia.

One of their four houses included a 1.35 million AUD five bedroom property in Craigieburn, which the Victoria Supreme Court promptly ordered to be sold and the money returned to

1.35 million AUD property: Nine News

As it stands, around $7 million has been paid back, with $3 million still to be accounted for. Civil action is reportedly underway to freeze properties and get the remaining funds back.

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