Family defend couple who lost $90,000 in messy bank transfer debacle

Commonwealth Bank couple’s ‘missing $90K’: Family of Melbourne pair hit out over bank record debacle

The family of a young couple who lost $90,000 in what they say was a bungled bank transfer has now claimed their account was mysteriously deleted.

Questions have been raised about how Elli Houston, 21, and her fiancé Trae Murphy, 23, came to lose the large sum of money that they say was in an account with the Commonwealth Bank.

The pair had saved the money to buy a block of land in Yarrawonga, a small town located near the NSW and Victoria border. 

The Melbourne couple came forward this week to say that after trying to transfer $90,000 from their CBA account to a Bank of Melbourne account, the money bounced back before disappearing altogether.

But the bank’s version of events is entirely different, with the institution claiming the couple never had the money to begin with and the receipts and account numbers didn’t match up.

Daily Mail Australia can reveal that Ms Houston’s sister, Tori Lancaster, has now defended the couple, claiming the misunderstanding is due to their account somehow being deleted.

Questions have been raised about how Elli Houston, 21, and her fiancé Trae Murphy, 23, came to lose the large sum of money that they say was in an account with the Commonwealth Bank

‘It’s as simple as this, the money was in their account as per the transaction records. The money has been taken and the account deleted, gone, can’t see it,’ she said. 

‘Which is why their receipts and statements don’t line up with Commonwealth Bank.

‘There has been no foul play and they have been working their a***s off for years.’

Ms Lancaster’s comment came after another Facebook user questioned the couple’s claims in a community group.

She claimed Ms Houston had shared her story in the group weeks prior only to then delete the post.

Ms Lancaster said her sister was never in the group and never posted about the debacle.

‘Next time it could be your mum, sister or daughter so pull your head in,’ Ms Lancaster said.

However, banking sources suggested that Ms Lancaster may be mistaken. 

Daily Mail Australia has been told that the bank can still see the historical data of bank accounts even after an account has been closed. 

It is not suggested that the couple have done anything wrong – simply that a stuff-up has occurred somewhere along the way. 

Ms Lancaster said her sister and her fiancé had worked hard for years to save money for their property

The debacle began on June 30 when the couple claim they transferred $90,000 from their account which had a total of $96,000 in it, to a Bank of Melbourne account.

Ms Houston said the money bounced back days later on July 4.

That same day, the couple tried to transfer the money again. They flew out to Bali on July 5 for a holiday. 

Ms Houston said the money bounced back for a second time on July 7, and because they were in Bali they weren’t able to transfer the money internationally.

They returned from Bali on July 20 and went straight to a Commonwealth Bank branch to revolve the matter.

But they claimed after going into the branch, they were then told they had just 75c in their account.

A spokesman for Commonwealth Bank (CBA) said it had investigated the claims and had since told Mr Murphy that the receipt numbers he provided 'do not exist in CBA records'. The bank also said the couple have 75c in their account, not $90,000

The Commonwealth Bank has claimed the couple never had $90,000 in their bank account.

In a letter sent to the couple, the bank said on the dates they allegedly tried to transfer the money, their bank account only had 75c in it.

The highest balance their account had was $10,400 in July last year, the bank added.

CBA said they conducted a thorough review of their records and the screenshots provided by the couple of their accounts and the money being 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 read.

‘No transactions of $90,000 were attempted on either 30 June or 4 July.’

A spokesperson for CBA added: ‘On examination of the images of the receipts provided, the documents differ from genuine CBA receipts and the receipt numbers do not exist in CBA’s records.’

Another complication is the funds allegedly sent from the couple’s bank account would not have been able to be directly transferred to the Bank of Melbourne.

This is because the money was in a NetBank saver account which can only transfer funds to other CBA accounts.

‘The account from which the transfers allegedly took place is a NetBank Saver which only permits transfers to another CBA account and is unable to process transfers to another financial institution,’ a CBA spokesperson said.

The debacle began on June 30 when the couple claim they transferred $90,000 from their account which had a total of $96,000 in it, to a Bank of Melbourne account

Ms Houston tearfully explained the debacle to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, adding she and her partner took a day off work to sit in the office of a bank employee in the hopes of finding the deposit. 

‘We were visibly distressed because we had lost so much money,’ she told the radio program. 

‘They asked us if we were being held ransom because we were so upset. This was a whole day, then they took five weeks to come back with an answer.’

The couple said they waited five weeks to get 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 this, here are some links if you need some help”,’ she recalled. 

The couple have had to increase the amount of their existing loan to keep the land. 

‘My partner and I have been together since we were 15 years old, we’ve saved for so long for this land and our goal was always to pay it off before we put a house on it so we could then travel,’ she said. 

‘It feels like everything’s been taken from under us.’

The Bank of Melbourne declined to comment. Ms Houston and Mr Murphy were contacted for comment.


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