The family of a young couple who allegedly lost $90,000 to a botched bank transfer now claim their account was mysteriously wiped.
Questions have been raised about how Elli Houston, 21, and her fiancé Trae Murphy, 23, ended up losing the large sum of money said to be held in a Commonwealth Bank account.
The couple had saved the money to buy property in Yarrawonga, a small town near the New South Wales-Victoria border.
The Melbourne couple spoke out this week and said after trying to transfer $90,000 from their CBA account to a Bank of Melbourne account, the money came back before disappearing altogether.
But the bank’s version is completely different: They claim the couple never had the money and the receipts and account numbers didn’t match.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal that Ms Houston’s sister Tori Lancaster has now defended the couple, claiming the misunderstanding stemmed from their account somehow being deleted.
Questions have been raised about how Elli Houston, 21, and her fiancé Trae Murphy, 23, ended up losing the large sum of money said to be held in a Commonwealth Bank account
“It’s as simple as that: According to the transaction records, the money was in her account.” “The money was withdrawn and the account deleted, gone, I can’t see it,” she said.
“As a result, her receipts and bank statements do not match those of the Commonwealth Bank.
“There was no foul play and they worked hard for years.”
Ms Lancaster’s comment came after another Facebook user questioned the couple’s claims in a community group.
She claimed Ms Houston shared her story to the group weeks earlier, but then deleted the post.
Ms Lancaster said her sister was never in the group and never posted about the debacle.
“Next time it could be your mother, your sister or your daughter, so get your head in there,” Ms Lancaster said.
However, bank sources suggested Ms Lancaster may be wrong.
Daily Mail Australia has been told that the bank will continue to be able to view historical bank account data even after an account has been closed.
Ms Lancaster said her sister and fiancé worked hard for years to save money for their property
The debacle began on June 30, when the couple claimed they transferred $90,000 from their account, which totaled $96,000, to a Bank of Melbourne account.
Ms Houston said the money was returned days later, on July 4.
On the same day, the couple tried again to transfer the money. They flew to Bali on July 5 for a holiday.
Ms Houston said the money was returned a second time on July 7 and, being in Bali, they were unable to send the money internationally.
On July 20, they returned from Bali and went straight to a Commonwealth Bank branch to settle the matter.
But after going into the branch, they claimed they were told they only had 75 cents in their account.
A spokesman for the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) said it investigated the claims and has since told Mr Murphy that the voucher numbers he provided “were not present in the CBA records”. The bank also said the couple had 75 cents in their account, not $90,000
The Commonwealth Bank claimed the couple never had $90,000 in their bank account.
In a letter to the couple, the bank said there was only 75 cents in their bank account on the day they allegedly tried to wire the money.
The highest account balance was $10,400 in July last year, the bank added.
CBA said they conducted a thorough review of their records and screenshots provided by the two accounts and the money transferred, but said they did not match.
“CBA confirms that the screenshots do not match CBA’s records of your accounts or the balance held in your accounts,” the bank’s letter said.
“No transactions worth $90,000 were attempted on either June 30 or July 4.”
A spokesman for the CBA added: “Upon examining the images of the receipts provided, the documents differ from genuine CBA receipts and the receipt numbers are not present in the CBA’s records.”
Another complication is that the funds said to have been transferred from the couple’s bank account could not be sent directly to the Bank of Melbourne.
This is because the money was in a NetBank savings account, which can only transfer funds to other CBA accounts.
“The account from which the transfers are alleged to have been made is a NetBank Saver account, which only allows transfers to another CBA account and cannot process transfers to another financial institution,” a CBA spokesman said.
The debacle began on June 30, when the couple claimed they transferred $90,000 from their account, which totaled $96,000, to a Bank of Melbourne account
Ms Houston tearfully explained the debacle to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, adding that she and her partner had taken a day off to sit in a bank teller’s office in hopes of finding bail.
“We were obviously distressed because we lost so much money,” she told the radio show.
“They asked us if we would ransom because we were so upset.” “It took a whole day, then it took them five weeks to get an answer.”
The couple said they waited five weeks for a response from CBA, with the bank including a link to Beyond Blue, a suicide prevention hotline.
“They said, ‘We’re really sorry, we’re still investigating. Here are some links if you need help,” she recalled.
The couple had to increase the amount of their existing loan to keep the land.
“My partner and I have been together since we were 15, we’ve been saving for this country for so long and our goal has always been to pay it off before we build a house on it so we can then travel,” she said.
“It feels like everything has been taken away from us.”
The Bank of Melbourne declined to comment. Ms. Houston and Mr. Murphy were contacted for comment.