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'Accidental millionaire' pleads guilty to theft

Published: 6:34AM Tuesday June 12, 2012 Source: ONE News

The man dubbed "the accidental millionaire" has pleaded guilty to seven charges of theft in court today.

Hui Gao, also known as Leo, and his partner Kara Hurring left New Zealand in 2009 after Westpac accidentally loaded a $10 million overdraft into Gao's account, instead of the $100,000 he had requested for his struggling petrol station in Rotorua.

Gao appeared in the Auckland District Court today and pleaded guilty to seven charges of theft totalling almost $6.8 million.

He originally faced 16 charges of theft and two of money laundering.

Gao has been remanded on electronic bail until sentencing in Rotorua on August 24.

Hurring was last month found guilty of 27 counts of theft and money laundering to the value of around $246,000. She denied she knew where the $10 million came from.

Gao and his former partner allegedly transferred a total of around $6.78 million to separate bank accounts when the banking mistake was made in April 2009.

The pair then left New Zealand - Gao on April 20 and Hurring on May 3.

The error was discovered on May 5, 2009, and approximately half the money was retrieved from New Zealand accounts, leaving around $3.8 million unrecovered.

Gao, a Chinese-New Zealander, was arrested while trying to enter into Hong Kong at the end of last year.

Hurring, 33, returned to New Zealand in February last year after she gave birth.