Bank error in your favor

NEW YORK Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:29pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York man who discovered that millions of dollars had mysteriously appeared in his bank account, and withdrew more than $2 million, has been arrested on charges of grand larceny, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Benjamin Lovell, 48, pleaded innocent on Tuesday to charges that he withdrew money from a Commerce Bank account that had been opened by someone with the same name, prosecutors said.

The account belonged to Woodlawn Trustees Inc, a Delaware property management company, and was listed under the name of its finance director, who is also named Benjamin Lovell, court papers said.

Lovell had just $800 in his own Commerce Bank account when he went to make a deposit, but a teller, mistaking the Woodlawn account for Lovell's personal account, told him that his account contained more than $5 million, prosecutors said.

Lovell made multiple withdrawals even though he knew that the money was not his, prosecutors said. He used the money to buy jewelry for his girlfriend and to make several investments, they said.

Commerce Bank and Woodlawn Trustees did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Legal Aid attorney representing Lovell could not be reached for comment either.

Lovell is being held on $3 million bail. He faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted, prosecutors said.

(Reporting by Edith Honan, Editing by Sandra Maler)

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