Man briefly a quadrillionaire after Paypal error

PayPal

Chris Reynolds, a PayPal customer from Pennsylvania, opened his monthly statement on Friday to discover he was a quadrillionaire - with $92,233,720,368,547,800 in his PayPal account. The sum would have made him the world's richest man.

So how did this happen, and did he have any right to keep the money?
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Quadrillions

The story appeared in the Daily News. 56-year-old Reynolds told the newspaper that he had been a PayPal customer for 10 years, and used it when buying or selling on eBay. He didn't usually trade more than $100, so wasn't expecting much when he went to check his account on Friday.

After the initial shock of seeing quadrillions of dollars in his account, he went into his PayPal account to check his balance. He was somewhat disappointed to discover that the balance was listed as zero.

PayPal told the paper that it wouldn't comment on any individual's account, but would look into it.

Reynolds told the paper that if he had been allowed to keep the cash he would spend it wisely. "I'm a very responsible guy," he said. "I would pay the national debt down first. Then I would buy the Phillies, if I could get a great price."

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The Sunday Times rich list 2013
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Man briefly a quadrillionaire after Paypal error

The 59-year-old billionaire has an almost 30% stake in Arsenal Football club and tops the list with an estimated worth of £13.3 billion.

Blavatnik's wealth rose from £3.4 billion last year to £11 billion in 2013 making him the biggest climber. He owns Warner Music and received £2 billion in April for his stake in TNK-BP.

Indian tycoons Sri and his brother Gopi Hinduja have a wealth of £10.6 billion from the industry and finance sector. The brothers made their fortune from their family firm Hinduja Group, a textile and trading exporter founded by their father in 1914.

Mittal spent eight years at the top of the rich list but slipped down to fourth place this year when the 40% stake he holds with his wife Usha in steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal plummeted from £28 billion to £5.95 billion.

With wealth totalling £9.3 billion, Roman Abramovich is most famous for buying Chelsea FC. A £200 million drop in his fortune lowers Abramovich from third to fourth spot.

Although largely unknown in Britain, 68-year-old Fredriksen is notorious in his native Norway as owner of the world's largest fleet of oil tankers. Once Norway's richest man and now a Cypriot national, the high-school dropout's companies are major players in shipping, offshore drilling and seafood.

The British-born billionaires, the Reuben brothers, are best-known for their vast UK property empire, which includes the John Lewis Partnership's headquarters in London's Victoria.

The Duke of Westminster is the second-highest ranked British billionaire and is worth an estimated £7.8 billion. He owns property group Grosvenor Estates, and half of London's Mayfair and Belgravia, as well as vast portions of the UK and Scotland.

With no change to their wealth this year, the Bertarellis are worth £7.4 billion. Born Kirsty Roper in 1971 into the Churchill China dynasty, 41-year-old Kirsty was a model and wrote the All Saints worldwide hit 'Black Coffee'.



Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken inherited a huge stake in Heineken, the world's third-largest brewer on the death of her father Freddy Heineken in 2002. Michel is an investment banker, former Olympic skier and toboganner, and and actor who appeared in the desert epic 'Lawrence of Arabia.'

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What are your rights?

These sorts of mistakes are not unheard of in an electronic world, where a small error can lead to a ludicrous result. We reported in June about the bank clerk in Germany who fell asleep with his finger on the number 2, and accidentally briefly credited an account with £190 million.

Unfortunately, you have absolutely no right to keep the money if your bank, or anyone else, makes this kind of mistake. In fact under UK law you are required to tell them they have made a mistake and ask for them to put it right. If you keep it quiet you can be prosecuted for 'retaining wrongful credit.'

There have been people who have been jailed for spending the cash when they know it had been given to them accidentally. One Blackburn woman was jailed for 10 months in 2007 for it.

You may be able to get away with it if you can show there was good reason to expect that the cash was yours. However, this is incredibly difficult to prove, and a highly risky strategy.

However tempting it might be to keep the quadrillions, there's a pretty good chance that someone is going to spot the mistake and ask for it back.

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Forbes rich list: the world's top ten billionaires
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Man briefly a quadrillionaire after Paypal error

The Mexican self-made telecoms mogul tops the rich list with a wealth that, as Forbes reports, if it were a country would be the eighth richest in Latin America.

Dubbed the world's most generous person, Bill Gates made his fortune as the brains behind Microsoft and has reportedly already donated $28 billion of his wealth to charity so far.

Spanish billionaire Ortega is the man behind the clothes brand Zara and is this year's biggest rich list gainer, making $19.5 billion last year and moving him into third position.

Buffett made his billions as CEO, primary shareholder and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, A diversified company with interest in GEICO, life insurance, annuity sales and sales of jewellery. He recently signed a lucrative deal to acquire Heinz Ketchup.

Ellison founded Oracle Corporation, a leading enterprise software company. He's America's third richest man and Forbes has reported that he recently bought 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai from David Murdock for a reported sum of $500 million.

Koch built his fortune on chemicals and refining and shares the sixth position on the rich list with his billionaire brother, David Koch.

Tied sixth in the rich list with his elder brother Charles, David runs the chemical equipment side of Koch Industries from his New York home.

This self-made billionaire is Asia's richest man and currently supplies a quarter of British people with gas after acquiring British gas supplier Wales & West Utilities for $1 billion last October.

The only woman in the top ten, Bettencourt's father founded L'Oreal and now she and her family own 30% of the French cosmetics super brand.

Branded by Forbes as the 'World's most influential tastemaker' Arnault owns the luxury goods powerhouse LVHM, Moet Hennessy - Luis Vuitton.

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