Unsplash / The Verge

Crazy Loophole Allegedly Allows Bank Programmer To Withdraw $1 Million Cash

Andrew Roberts 7 Feb 2019

A programmer for the Chinese Huaxia Bank made quite the discovery a few years back, allegedly turning it into a way to walk away with $1 million in cash before being caught.

And while the twists in the story don't play as you'd expect, he's still facing close to 10 years in prison.

Something Peculiar

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As The Verge reports, taken from the South China Morning Post, 43-year-old programmer Qin Qisheng exploited a flaw he found in his company's system:

According to the reports, the bank’s system didn’t properly record withdrawals made around midnight — effectively spitting out cash without removing the total from a user’s account.

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Taking Action

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How this went unnoticed before he became involved is a mystery, but there is a good reason why he was able to take advantage himself:

Normally, that might send up a red flag that a transaction had failed, but Qisheng allegedly inserted scripts into the system that suppressed those alerts.

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Then Taking Money

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Once all of this was in place, he started to make withdrawals and put money into his own personal account.

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Years Of Withdrawals

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This continued for years. The first withdrawal came in November 2016 and the bank didn't find out until January 2018. In that time, he managed to put out nearly 7 million yuan -- aroiund $1 million USD.

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Sound Familiar?

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If this sounds familiar at all, you might've watched the movie Office Space -- or you've seen Superman III with Richard Pryor. Either way, the whole thing would've been perfect if he had just stopped.

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Bank Finally Discovers Code

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But the bank found out and soon they closed the loophole. They then brought the programmer to the authorities to find out the damage.

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Returning The Money

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In the end, the worker did return the money to the bank and they did not want to continue with the charges. The likely reason here isn't as kind as you might think-- wanting to avoid bad publicity -- but they still tried according to The Verge:

Huaxia Bank reportedly asked police to drop the case — reportedly accepting Qisheng’s explanation that he was merely testing the bank’s security and was holding onto the money for the bank to reclaim.

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Courts Aren't Playing

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The police and courts weren't buying it, of course:

They didn’t buy the argument, considering that he’d moved the money to his personal bank account, instead of the bank’s dummy account, and had apparently been investing some in the stock market, too.

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Facing Prison Time

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Now Qisheng is reportedly facing 10 1/2 years in prison and likely doesn't have a job either. Unless the bank is being very reasonable there too and keeping him around to showcase some more. Who knows?

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