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New Zealand's 'accidental millionaire' sentenced to prison

A New Zealand man who fled to China after millions of dollars were accidentally deposited in his bank account was sentenced Friday to four years and seven months in prison, TVNZ reported.

Hui "Leo" Gao, dubbed the "accidental millionaire," and Kara Hurring, his former girlfriend and mother of his child, fled the country in April 2009 after Westpac Bank mistakenly credited his account with $10 million instead of $100,000, TVNZ reported. Gao had applied for an overdraft to keep his struggling business - a BP gas station - afloat, The Rotorua Daily Post reported.

"A lot of people say: 'You're lucky, like winning the lottery'. I say: 'Nothing worse could happen to you'," Gao, 31, told The Daily Post.


Gao was caught in December 2011, when he attempted to cross from mainland China into Hong Kong, TVNZ reported. He pleaded guilty to seven charges of theft, totaling almost $6.8 million. About $3.7 million is still missing, and Gao has refused to say what happened to it, The Daily Post said.

"All I can say is I'm not in a position to pay the reparations," he said, according to The Daily Post.

According to Al Jazeera, Hurring, 33, was sentenced to nine months under house arrest and ordered to pay back the $9,588 she withdrew using Gao's credit card.

"I wish I could have another chance," Gao told TV ONE's Sunday.

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"If they put money in my bank account again you know I would just give them back. I am never going to do it again."

According to Al Jazeera, the bank noticed the erroneous transfer days after it happened, but Gao and Hurring had already fled to Hong Kong by then and had transferred a big chunk of the money into other accounts. They also allegedly went on a gambling spree in Macau and southern China.

The couple's life on the run triggered an international manhunt by Interpol and other overseas agencies.

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