A couple is being charged for spending $120,000 which was deposited to their account in error. This is in Pennsylvania, USA.
The facts are presented as follows: One day, couple wakes up to $120,000 extra dollars due to teller error. The money was intended for a business. They are aware that this must be an error but spend the money anyway. The bank wants the money back. The couple quits talking to the bank. The couple is charged with theft and receiving stolen property.
I am very confused how they can be charged with either of these things. In the case of theft, I think it is fairly plain the couple did nothing to receive the money. No act on their part caused the money to enter their account. I think most reasonable people would agree that at that point, they "have" the money, and what they do with it after that is irrelevant to whether it was stolen. If this is not the case, and the act of spending the money is the theft, then it implies that any money in anyone's account is not theirs, which I seriously doubt a jury would agree with.
With regards to receiving stolen property, there are two options.
1) My claim above is true, and the couple did not steal the money. If the property then is "stolen," the uncomfortable implication is that the bank stole the money. (Teller Error, I don't think, counts as theft).
2) My claim above is untrue, in which case, it's hard to argue they received it at all, since they are the thieves (the reception becomes trivial).
It seems to me that the prosecution is doomed if the couple decides to go to trial.
What's going to give the prosecution a chance to succeed? If they are doomed, why bother filing the charges at all?
Note: I am aware of statues in the case of mail where receiving mail which is not yours and failing to make a reasonable attempt to return it is theft. I am unaware of any similar banking statues.
EDIT: The couple did something wrong. I am not disputing that. I simply don't see how either choice in charge by the prosecution results in a conviction.