An indebted car mechanic who saw a pensioner’s inheritance money land in his account by mistake has insisted that he tried to return the money but the bank refused to take it.
Peter Teich, 74, made a simple mistake when providing his solicitor with a sort code after his father’s death and £193,000 was wired to 42-year-old Tim Gray, who is also a Cambridge resident.
Teich contacted Barclays within 12 hours of issuing the wrong number. Eventually, the bank told him they couldn’t return the money because the recipient hadn’t given permission for the sum to be returned.
Peter Teich, 74 and disabled, called Barclays less than 12 hours after he realised the mistake. The beneficiary of the huge sum said that he tried to pay the money back but that Barclays wouldn’t allow him. An undated family handout photo shows Peter Teich and his wife Veronica Becko
The 74-year-old was left with no other option than to take the accidental beneficiary to the High Court.
But the inheritor – who has now returned the money – has blamed Barclays for the situation.
‘The main thing is that I didn’t run off and buy a Ferrari, and I did try to give it back,’ Mr Gray, the accidental beneficiary, told the Guardian newspaper.
He added that because the amount was from a Cambridge solicitor, he thought it could have been from some inheritance he was expecting from his late grandmother.
Within no time at all, the mechanic, who was struggling with credit cards and bills, paid off his debts to the tune of around £13,000.
Mr Gray said the bank caught up with him four days later and told him the money wasn’t his.
Then he tried to offer it back, which they refused, he said.
Barclays sent Mr Teich, pictured, a letter saying that the beneficiary refused to give the money back. They offered him £25 as a ‘small token gesture’
Barclays said they have listened to the phone call in question and ‘it does not reflect the claims being made on this case’.
With his debts cleared, Mr Gray said he decided to transfer £150,000 of the remaining cash into premium bonds, claiming that he could share it with the money’s true owner if he won big.
After the High Court ruled for him to give the money back to Teich, he said he took out more credit card loans to meet the court order.
‘I’m glad he’s got his money back. I feel sorry for the old boy, it should never have happened to him,’ he said.
‘I just want to clear my name,’ he added.
Despite the accusations of theft, Mr Gray feels this will be ‘one hell of a story to tell my grandkids’.
His wife, however, was concerned that people would think they were ‘common thieves’ or that she’d be sacked from her job.
Mr Teich then had to spend £46,000 on legal fees going through the courts to get his inheritance back – and Barclays still refused to refund the money. However, after it was contacted by a newspaper it decided to refund his legal fees and £750 compensation
Mr Teich’s problems began in April when he gave his solicitor his bank details to receive his share of his late father’s estate.
His name, address in Cambridge and account number were correct but the sort code was wrong.
In a gut-wrenching move, the bank refunded Mr Teich just £25 as a ‘small token gesture’.
‘Barclays insisted that I bear the full and sole responsibility of pursuing their own dishonest customer’, Mr Teich told The Guardian.
‘I freely acknowledge my mistake in this unhappy saga: I provided the sort code of the wrong Barclays branch.
‘But my error fades into insignificance when considered in the context of Barclays’ conduct.’
Mr Teich hired lawyers and spent £12,000 in legal fees before finally getting the other Barclays’ customer’s name.