Eddie couldn’t believe his eyes. He read over the ATM screen again “Account Balance: $3.50” Panic began to set in. What had happened? His first thought was to call the bank, try to correct the mistake. His account should have over $500,000. Something had gone very wrong. Eddie knew he couldn’t contact the bank. What would he tell them? Someone flogged the money I’ve been pilfering from other peoples accounts? Eddie’s mind began to race. What if the bank had moved the money after discovering his fraud? Were the police on there way to find him now? Had he been found out? No, that was impossible his plan had been full proof. But the money was gone and now he had to find out what happened. He had to work out the problem and fix it, fast. Because if Eddie didn’t have the money for them by Thursday he was going to be in a world of hurt.
He stopped to take a breath and calm himself, beginning to murmur under his breath “I can fix this, I can fix this!” It became his mantra as he started working through the problem. The first step was the simplest, log on to the account online and check over the transaction history. Whipping out his phone Eddie logged on to his banks app, again he saw the account balance at the low figure of $3.50. Opening into the transaction history, he saw the thousands of minor transactions that had filled his account. Each of them minuscule amounts that would fly under the radar, a few cents here a few more there. It had been an ingenious plan. All he’d done was tweak the banks algorithms, so they would move insignificant amounts of money from thousands of accounts into his own. It was set so all these transactions occurred between twelve and one in the afternoon. Why twelve and one? Because lunch time was the busiest period for minor transactions in the country. Almost completely undetectable.
Eddie had planned this scheme out in his head for years while working as a software developer for the bank. In the beginning, it was a simple daydream. He would plan it in his head while punching away at security updates for the system. Unfortunately, Eddie got himself into some financial trouble. Trouble brought on by an insatiable love for gambling. Eddie had lost all his money and then borrowed more to try and make it back. Now he owed money to bad people and was desperate to pay them. As the pressure to clear his debts grew he was forced to enact his old daydream. The plan had gone well and Eddie had finally amassed enough money to clear his debts, he had even organised to drop off the cash on Thursday. But now, with the money gone, he had to worry about the police, his work and about paying back what he owed.
Finding the most recent transaction Eddie saw something he hadn’t quite expected. Someone had transferred the $500,000 from his account into the account of his eight year old son Keegan. With a raised eye brow Eddie placed his phone back into his pocket and headed for the car. During the short ride home Eddie thought through how this could have happened. Had he ordered this transaction by mistake? Maybe he had fat fingered something last time he was on his banking app. The banks mobile app was notoriously low quality. But how could that be the explanation? The bank had strict controls in place to stop this sort of thing. To move more than a few thousand dollars from an account; you had to call the bank, identify yourself and authorise the transaction. Eddie knew that this process wasn’t infallible. Organised criminal gangs had previously swindled the bank into authorising large illicit transactions. But if it was criminal gangs, why in the world would they move the money into his sons Super Saver account? The whole situation seemed so damn illogical. Eddie couldn’t get his head around it. In the end, it might not matter. Eddie would get Keegan to take the money out of his account and then Eddie would take it to the loan sharks.
Eddie started yelling out for Keegan as he opened the front door. Keegan yelled back “Dad I’m up here!” from his room. Eddie headed up the stairs and pushed open Keegan’s door but what he found inside was not what he had expected. Eddie had expected Keegan to be sat in front of his TV playing on his new Xbox 1. Instead, Keegan was sat in his desk chair facing the door as though he had been waiting for Eddie. “Ahhh, what are you up to?” asked Eddie. “Well Dad, I have been waiting for you. It seems we have some business to discuss.” replied Keegan in a strange sophisticated manner that unnerved Eddie. “We do?” Eddie replied, “Oh yes we do, we need to discuss money matters.” Keegan remarked, “Money matters?” Eddie stuttered. Keegan continued, “Yes, you see I have moved the stolen $500,000 across from your account and into mine. I suspect that is why you began yelling for me as soon as you got home?” Eddie stood gawking at Keegan. “Dad I know that you have a gambling problem. I know you wasted the money that was left for me after Mum died. So well, I can’t trust you with this sort of money and have decided to take it out of your hands.” dictated Keegan.
Confused about what was going on and what had happened to his son, Eddie replied, “Keegs, how do you know about this? Are you ok? You don’t seem yourself today.” Keegan snorted to himself, before answering back, “Dad, I love you and I appreciate everything you do for me, but you have never paid much attention. I don’t know where I get it from but I have always felt a bit more mature, and maybe a bit smarter than I should be. For the longest time I have tried to hide it, not wanting to turn myself into some sort of freak in the eyes of the world. I have never wanted to be some miracle child prodigy paraded around on television for the masses to marvel at. All I want is to live my life like a normal young boy. But Dad I know about your grief induced gambling addiction. And now with our future on the brink of collapse I have decided to take action and take over.”
For a long minute neither of them spoke. Eddie stood dumbfounded staring down at Keegan while Keegan stared right back. Then as tears began to form in the corners of his eyes, Eddie whined, “Keegan, I need that money.” Keegan replied, “Why? Why do you need this stolen money? So you can gamble more? Is that it?” Holding back the tears Eddie went on, “I need it to pay them back. I went too far with the gambling, I lost big and thought I could recoup my loses if I borrowed more. I thought if I borrow some cash and win big then I can pay it back and replace the money I had already lost. But then I lost again. Now I have nothing and I owe them big. And Keegs they are dangerous. They will hurt me, they might even hurt you.”
Keegan asked his father, “Who?” Eddie replied, “Who what?” Keegan went on, “Who do you owe money to?” Feeling a little apprehensive Eddie muttered “Antonio Bubeck.” Keegan looked down to the ground as he sighed shaking his head. He closed his eyes for a short moment before looking back up at his father and he saying, “Don’t worry. I will take care of it. But from now on, I will be in charge of our finances.” Breaking into tears Eddie leapt down and hugged Keegan. He held him and he sobbed. Keegan hugged his father back. Once Eddie had calmed down they let go of their embrace. Eddie said that he was going to start dinner and he headed for the door. As he reached the door Keegan stopped him and asked, “Oh and Dad.” Eddie looking back replied “Yes Keegan?” With a slight smile Keegan replied “I need you to sign my permission slip for next weeks school excursion.” Eddie beamed a smile at young Keegan and answered, “Of course son, of course.”