Judge to law firm which overpaid beneficiary due to typo: be more careful

by Sol Dolor31 Aug 2016
A judge has warned an Auckland law firm to be more careful after it unwittingly paid a client more than $300,000 over what he was owed.
According to a Stuff report, Sellar Bone & Partners lawyer Colin Lucas, who was named executor of the estate of Marie Horsup, unknowingly included an extra 0 when transferring money via the internet to Matthew Horsup’s bank account following his mother’s death in 2014.
Horsup – who was owed just $34,312.38 but was given $343,102.38 – has ran off with the extra money.
Lucas and partners at the 88-year-old firm has sought from the High Court an urgent order to stop Horsup from spending the money and for him to repay the law firm, the report noted, which was granted.
“Nothing has been heard from Mr Horsup,” said Justice Matthew Palmer in the judgment.
“The plaintiffs know nothing about him other than that he has a criminal record and, after his mother died, the house in which they were living tested positive for methamphetamine contamination,” Justice Palmer said.
Sellar Bone & Partners and Lucas sought an interim injunction against Horsup to prevent him from withdrawing and spending the money.
However, the law firm again made mistakes in the filings as they asked for Horsup to be ordered to pay back $343,102.38 instead of the $308,790 difference.
“I have corrected these errors here. I suggest Sellar Bone double check its documentation more carefully in future,” Justice Palmer said in his judgment granting the interim injunction.
Sellar Bone has recovered the sum.