A Louisiana woman has been arrested after authorities say she refused to return over $1.2 million accidentally transferred into her brokerage account by Charles Schwab & Co, a major financial services corporation.
Kelyn Spadoni, 33, was fired by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday after her arrest. She is now facing charges of theft valued over $25,000, bank fraud and illegal transmission of monetary funds, nola.com and WVUE-TV reported.
The former sheriff’s dispatcher is accused of immediately moving the money to another account and using some of it to buy a house and a new car, a 2021 Hyundai Genesis sport utility vehicle, according to the report.
A sheriff’s spokesman, Capt. Jason Rivarde said that although the money was put into her account, “it’s not her money.”
“She has no legal claim to that money,” he added. “Even if it was put in there by mistake. It was an accounting error.”
Charles Schwab & Co. sued Spadoni on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in New Orleans after trying to contact her several times to return the money without success, Sheriff’s spokesman Rivarde said. So far, about 75% of the money has been recovered, he added.
According to the lawsuit, Spadoni opened an account with Schwab in January. About a month later, the company installed an “enhancement” to the software used to transfer assets, court records said.
On Feb. 23, Schwab meant to transfer $82.56 into a Fidelity Brokerage Services account also owned by Spadoni. But the company, instead, transferred $1,205,619, court records said. Staffers with the company immediately tried to stop or reclaim the transfer, but couldn’t.
The next day, Schwab sent a reclaim request to the institution that administers the account where money was mistakenly sent. But the request was rejected, with Schwab receiving a “CASH NOT AVAILABLE” notification, court records said.
That’s because Spadoni had already moved the money out of the account, Rivarde said.
Charles Schwab & Co argued in the lawsuit that Spadoni’s account contract with the company includes an agreement that if a client receives an overpayment of funds, the client is required to return the full amount.
“If someone accidentally puts an extra zero on a utility payment, they would want that money returned or credited to them. This is no different,” Rivarde said.
He said Spadoni had been with the sheriff’s office 911 center for 4 and 1/2 years.
Spadoni is being held at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center on a $50,000 bond, Fox News reported.