eBay-scam teen (14) 'led playboy lifestyle'
The Versace and Prada clothes seemed a little lavish for a teenager. Then there was the Louis Vuitton luggage, the limousines, the penthouses overlooking Sydney Harbour.
How on earth could a 14-year-old schoolboy afford this celebrity lifestyle, his mother wondered.
She found out her son was masterminding an eBay scam that had netted him A$200,000 -- and that Australia's big four banks were allegedly helping him launder the money by showering him with bank accounts and debit cards.
Neither the boy nor his mother can be identified for legal reasons, but details of the bizarre case have emerged from documents lodged with New South Wales Supreme Court.
He was arrested at school after his frauds were linked to an IP address attached to a classroom computer.
The woman, who lives south of Sydney, is seeking damages from the four banks -- the Commonwealth, ANZ, Westpac and National Australia Bank.
The boy sold non-existent items on eBay, the online auction site, at one stage earning more than A$6,000 a day. His mother's suspicions were aroused when he began booking $4,300 penthouses and hiring limos to go to the beach.
A log book she found solved the mystery. It detailed "thousands of dollars worth of transactions with eBay customers, all of whom had deposited money into his bank accounts for non-existent laptops, mobile phones and watches".
The boy's mother said she repeatedly contacted the banks, warning them he was a minor who was depositing illegally gained funds. They ignored her or refused to discuss the matter, citing privacy concerns, she alleges. Since 2007, she has handed over her son to the police 15 times.
All four banks say they will defend the allegations.