Man says he blew the $1.2m he got from a dodgy cash machine in four months on a lavish lifestyle
Looking in from the outside, Dan Saunder's life looked incredible, with private jets, caviar, champagne and nights with escorts being a regular occurrence.
But the 29-year-old had a secret: none of the money paying for it was his. Instead, he was getting his supply from a broken cash machine, which somehow allowed him to take out £1 million ($1.2 million) without charging him.
It all started when he was on a night out and tried to buy a round of drinks at the bar. When his card was declined, he went down the street to the closest ATM to check his balance: it said he had just £3 ($3.79) to his name.
Despite this depressing news, he tapped to withdraw £100 ($126.50) anyway. The result of this was something of a miracle: the machine gave him the money he requested, despite an error message coming up onscreen stating the transaction had been declined.
After returning to the bar to successfully buy his round of drinks, he went back to the ATM and asked for more money. To his amazement, it gave it to him.
Speaking to Sun Online, he explained: "I tried to get £250 and then £300 just to see what would happen and it kept giving me the money. It was 1am in a country town so there was nowhere open to spend it. I think it was a combination of being tipsy and bored, but I just kept doing it again and again, it was like a magic trick."
The next night, he went back to the same machine and figured out that if he visited it between the hours of midnight and one in the morning, he could withdraw as much free cash as he wanted.
The charges would appear on his bank account as minus figures the next day, but he could always draw out more cash once the clock struck midnight. Shockingly, the staff at his bank did not notice.
Describing it as "like a caveman discovering fire", he began taking out hundreds every single night. Over a four-and-a-half month period, he took about around £1million ($1.2 million).
He used the money to live the high life: he threw wild parties, ate at the best restaurants, stayed in expensive hotels, hired private jets and paid glamorous escorts to be on his arm after breaking up with his girlfriend.
According to his interview with The Sun, the most expensive thing Dan bought was a flight in a 20-seat private jet, which he chartered to an island in Asia, near Bali, costing almost £50,000.
However, his conscience soon caught up with him: the 29-year-old began to have anxiety attacks, as his bank account went further and further into the red.
He turned himself into his bank in June 2011, but wasn't arrested until three years later on 111 counts related to fraud and theft.
In May 2016, he was released from prison after spending a year locked up. He’s now working in a bar again on £12.50 ($15.82) an hour, but insists he has "no regrets".
He told The Sun: "Right now, I'm happy. I've got a pretty stable life with a bit of everything here and there. It's better now, but there was definitely a hangover time, when I thought, jeez, maybe I should have gone to Spain after all."