A BARTENDER had one of the best night's of his life when by pure chance he accidentally got £1million from a cash machine.
It was a start of an incredible journey that saw him blow the whole lot in five months in a wild spending spree and end up behind bars.
But for Dan Saunders he doesn't regret any of it and even paid one of his pals' uni fees.
The barman was out drinking in his hometown of Wangaratta, Australia, when he struck lucky at the ATM.
He had headed to the cash machine – and accidentally stumbled on a lifechanging glitch.
Dan – slightly tipsy at this point – realised for whatever reason he was able to transfer unlimited funds between his savings and credit accounts.
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He originally tried to move $200 AUD – but the ATM threw up an error message saying "transaction cancelled".
But he tried to withdraw the money anyway and got the cash.
Originally he didn't think much of it, but later that night he was walking home past the same ATM.
He tried it again, and again, and then again – and ended up with $1,300 in cash.
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All the time the ATM would say "transaction cancelled" – yet the money would come out anyway without actually taking any money from his bank account and giving him the cash.
The following morning he phoned his bank and there seemed to be nothing untoward with his account.
He twigged that between 1am and 3am in the morning that specific ATM became disconnected from the bank's network.
And this essentially allowed him to create "infinite money" by transfering cash between his two accounts.
The transaction would only register with the bank the following day and push him into debt – but he could always withdraw more after midnight.
But you could always stay ahead of this by staying one day ahead with his sneaky transfers.
I opened the book on anything – people just gave me their dreams and I fulfilled them.
And so what followed with was a whirlwind as Dan decided he was going to exploit this glitch, describing it as "addictive".
"I felt like a caveman discovering fire," he told VICE.
Dan started drawing out hundreds of pounds a night, splashing it on drinks for everyone in his local pub.
He started eating out at the best restaurants in his town and throwing wild parties every weekend.
And even though his "real" bank balance was going deeper and deeper into the red, he kept simply printing the free cash.
He spent in total around $1.6million AUD (£1million) using his system – including charting a a 20 seater private jet for his mate to the tune of £50k.
"We were in the air for about three hours and had filled the plane up with people," Saunders told The Sun Online in 2018.
"It was a mix of old friends and new faces. We hired the whole resort, the over-water villas and ate and drank there.
“I opened the book on anything – people just gave me their dreams and I fulfilled them.”
Dan would parade with expensive escorts on his arm as partied his life away – enjoying expensive suits, cavier and champagne.
He once hired a minibus, stopping at all the backpacker hostels in Melbourne picking up people.
The barman then drove them out to a big estate he hired out in the stunning Yarra Valley where he hosted pool parties.
And he also paid off some of his friends’ university tuition fees and sent a mate to study in France.
But the guilt of what he was doing eventually caught up with him – being wracked with anxiety about he had done.
He confided in his therapist who told him to hand himself in.
“I think there was a small part of me wanted it to end but I was past the point of no return, my life had changed dramatically," he says.
He often dreamt about being caught.
“One night I had a nightmare that the SWAT team was out the front of the hotel room I was staying in," he said.
Two years passed and Saunders was finding it hard to come to terms with his overnight riches, so he started seeing psychologists.
Saunders had never contacted the police, but he stopped working the glitch and once he'd blown all the money he contacted the bank in June 2011.
They said that the police would get in touch with him about it – but they never did. Dan even appeared on a national news programme detailing his lifestyle.
He went to several small local newspapers with his story and gave a video interview on Australian news programme, The Current Affair.
Still, it was three years before Saunders was arrested on 111 counts related to fraud and theft.
"I just sat back and pleaded guilty and sort of let it all unfold in front of me," said Dan.
In May 2016, Saunders left jail after spending a year in prison – and went back to working in a bar again on £12.50 an hour.
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Dan's incredible story has been charted in numerous news articles and there is even talk of it being made into a movie.
And he is also telling his story in a new podcast called The Glitch produced by Podshape which is avaliable on Spotify.
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