Law Caught Up With Student Who Went On Shopping Spree After She Mistakenly Received Nearly $1M In Her Bank Account

Sibongile Mani

Sibongile Mani, a student at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in South Africa, found herself in an extraordinary predicament when an astonishing sum of nearly $1,000,000 was mistakenly deposited into her bank account.

Accustomed to relying on modest benefits to support her studies, Mani typically received around $100 monthly for essential expenses.

However, one morning, Mani awoke to an unexpected windfall when a government aid scheme erroneously wired an astonishing 14 million rands (approximately $760,000) into her account.

Presented with this unforeseen dilemma, Mani made a consequential decision to indulge in lavish spending.

Over subsequent days, Mani embarked on an extravagant shopping spree, splurging on high-end designer attire, the latest iPhone model, and extravagant bottles of liquor.

Her reckless expenditure surpassed $40,000 before her misstep caught up with her.

The conspicuous spending raised suspicions when a bank receipt was inadvertently left behind at a local supermarket.

This led to inquiries and, ultimately, Mani’s apprehension. Samkelo Mqhayi, branch secretary of the South African Students Congress, commented on the sudden surge in Mani’s expenditures, noting extravagant parties and lavish gifts to friends.

In 2017, Mani faced charges of theft and fraud for her actions. Subsequently, in 2022, she received a five-year prison sentence.

However, her lawyer, Asanda Pakade, appealed the decision, arguing that Mani did not actively seek the erroneously deposited funds and posed no threat to society.

During a hearing in 2023, two judges at the East London High Court in Makhanda opted to suspend Mani’s sentence, contingent upon her refraining from further criminal activity.

Additionally, she was mandated to complete 14 weeks of community service and undergo counseling. Notably, she was not required to reimburse the misappropriated funds.

Following the court’s decision, Pakade conveyed Mani’s relief and optimism for the future. Despite the tumultuous ordeal, Mani expressed gratitude for the opportunity to rebuild her life and eagerly anticipated embarking on a fresh start.

Mani remains determined to embrace the chance at redemption and forge ahead with renewed vigor and resilience.