There Is No Such Thing As A Bank Fairy
One day, Joseph Bucci had about $35 in the bank. A week later, he had nearly $70,000.
He didn’t hit the lottery. He didn’t buy low and sell high. He didn’t make a killing at the casino.
The 22-year-old Bensalem man didn’t do anything to get the money, which was mistakenly deposited into his bank account in March, Bensalem police said.
But Bucci did spend his new found fortune, all but $2,000 of it, police say. Now the alleged bank-error bandit is facing felony charges and the possibility of a seven- to 14-year jail sentence.
Bucci, who listed his address as West End Avenue in Trevose, surrendered to Bensalem police Tuesday and was charged with receiving stolen property and theft of property lost by mistake, both third-degree felonies.
He was arraigned before Bensalem District Judge Joseph Falcone, who released him on $25,000 unsecured bail, meaning he does not have to post the money unless he fails to appear in court.
Police said that Bucci knew the money in his Wells Fargo bank account was not his. But rather than return it, he allegedly went on a monthlong spending spree, police said. Among his purchases: airline tickets, car insurance, clothing, food, gas, furniture and a dog, police said.
An internal investigation by Wells Fargo found that on March 6 a teller at the bank’s Hellerstown branch typed in the wrong account number and deposited $69,300 worth of checks from a lawyer’s office into Bucci’s account instead of the correct account.
At the time, Bucci’s account balance was $35.46, according to a probable cause affidavit in the case.
A week after the money was put in his account, Bucci allegedly made a $12,000 cash withdrawal at a Wells Fargo branch in Feasterville, according to police. He bought a used car with the money, according to Bensalem Sgt. Andrew Aninsman.
Between March 13 and 16, Bucci allegedly made bank withdraws totaling $18,000 at Wells Fargo branches in Bensalem and Feasterville, police said.
He made other teller and ATM withdrawals, point of sale purchases, and wrote checks on the available funds in the account until the fraud claim was discovered in mid-April, according to police. His last bank withdrawal was on April 17 for $200, according to the affidavit.
“Honestly, I think he handled it like a finders, keepers,” Aninsman said. “I guess he bought the things he wanted to buy.”