Bank transfer received in error, can I keep the money?

Perhaps the idea of sending an incorrect bank transfer may seem strange, for example by getting the recipient wrong or indicating a higher amount than what is due.
In fact, one is normally very careful before making a payment, furthermore there are various solutions made available by credit institutions to deal with these problems.
In the event of a formally incorrect IBAN code, the transfer automatically returns to the sender (or cannot be sent), in other cases it is possible – acting in time – to cancel or recall the transfer.
Despite this, there are many cases involving incorrect bank transfers and refund disputes and the jurisprudence is full of cases in this regard.
The Court of Cassation has established important principles on the topic, even if there are two conflicting orientations, which create many difficulties in understanding for those who read this news.
In some cases, those who withheld the sums are simply forced to repay them, other times convicted in criminal courts.
However, we anticipate that it is extremely rare to be able to keep the sum received.
The general principle is that in the absence of a debt, a payment is not made and therefore whoever receives it is required to repay it.
Here's what you need to know.
Can I keep the money from a bank transfer received in error? As anticipated, anyone who receives money by mistake is required to return it, assuming that by mistake we mean the absence of a credit towards the sender.
If you receive money from a stranger or a higher sum than you are actually entitled to, you must make every effort to return the amount to the recipient.
As a rule, to do this it is sufficient to authorize the bank for the refund.
Everything changes if the person who received the money can instead claim a credit from the sender of the transfer, also for the simple fact that he can presumably believe that the money received is intended for the payment of the debt.
The creditor is therefore entitled to keep the money for himself, even if received by mistake (for example, the sender wanted to direct the payment to another person).
This is the only situation, however rare, in which anyone who receives a bank transfer by mistake has the right to keep the sum and does not have to return it, provided they have demonstrable credit towards the sender.
Otherwise, the money must always be returned because it would amount to unjust enrichment.
In this case, whoever made the payment incorrectly can take civil action to recover the sum, within 10 years of the fact.
When keeping money is a crime and what you risk Given that in most cases, i.e.
when unjust enrichment occurs, the money must be returned, we must also remember that keeping it can also constitute a crime.
It is precisely on this point that the precedents of the Supreme Court clash, even if the prevailing opinion considers that the conduct is criminally relevant only if the person who received the money violated its intended purpose.
Withholding the sum received from the bank transfer which does not have a clear destination – for example the purchase of a good – cannot therefore – according to this orientation – constitute a crime.
This would not be the case if the money had a specific purpose and the recipient violated it, for example by using the money for himself rather than performing a service.
In these cases, when the purpose is known, withholding the money constitutes the crime of embezzlement, punishable upon complaint by a prison term of 2 to 5 years and a fine of 1,000 to 3,000 euros.
Beware of scams In terms of incorrect bank transfers, having reiterated the obligatory nature of repayment, it is specified to rely on credit institutions, without sending the money following private requests not verified with appropriate checks.
Many online scams are based precisely on this mechanism and must be reported to the authorities.
read also Complaint for embezzlement: here's how to do it

Author: Hermes A.I.

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