Randy Pratt, who along with his wife is facing felony theft and conspiracy charges for spending $175,000 that their bank says didn’t belong to them, told a court last week that they kept the money because they considered it “a gift from God.”
According to FNB Bank, it actually came from FNB Bank, and it wasn’t a gift, at least not in legal terms.
Police said that due to what appeared to be a bank error (or was it?), a deposit of $1,772.50 that the Pratts made showed up as $177,250. When they noticed this, they promptly emptied the account, quit their jobs, and moved to Florida.
Randy Pratt claimed that he did try to ask the bank what happened, but was ignored. I guess it is possible that bank executives have enough on their hands right now, like trying to remember where they put that $350,000,000,000 God sent them recently, without having to run around checking on a measly $175,477.50. I mean, that’s only about 15 percent of what that Merrill Lynch guy spent to remodel his office. So maybe they couldn’t be bothered. Ordinarily, though, they do tend to return calls from people who say they found extra money in their account (unless the caller is speaking very, very quietly, which might be what happened here).
Melissa Pratt said her husband, a building contractor, often got large checks so she didn’t think anything of it. Whether they often quit their jobs and moved to Florida after receiving such checks, she didn’t say. (She also told the court she is “estranged” from her husband, so I think we see a defense strategy forming here.)
The Pratts, who like so many people lately seem to have gotten their understanding of financial matters from board games they played as children, say that the money is pretty much gone. Consistent with their theory of its origin, they say they gave away much of it, including a $25,000 gift to a church shelter for the homeless. But police say they did also buy a new car, some jewelry, and were in the process of buying a new house in Orlando when they were discovered, so they were caring for their worldly needs as well.