A Valley woman is out nearly $6,000 after mistyping her account number when she made an online transfer.

By Vinayak on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 with 0 comments

PHOENIX -- A Valley woman is out nearly $6,000 after mistyping her account number when she made an online transfer.

Listen: Phoenix Police Interview Cody Dungan (.mp3)

Laurie Hamouz needed money, so she withdrew $5,800 from her 401(k) account."I was going to use it to buy a refrigerator, a washer, a dryer, some things for the new house and pay off a couple of little bills," Hamouz said.Unfortunately, she made an error when she typed her Desert Schools Federal Credit Union account number into the online form -- she typed a 6 instead of an 8 -- and the money was deposited into someone else's account.By the time the mistake was caught, credit union officials said they were unable to help.

They said, 'Nope, the money's gone, and this isn't really our problem anymore. You need to contact the police if you want your money back,'" Hamouz said. "And I said, 'Are you kidding me?'"5 Investigates learned her money had been deposited into the account of 24-year-old Cody Dungan, an ex-marine and aspiring artist.When police initially contacted Dungan in mid-March, they gave him three weeks to return the money."All that was asked initially was (to) do the right thing, and when that wasn't done, we were left with no options but to seek criminal charges," Phoenix Police Department spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson said."I feel that someone else made the mistake, not me," Dungan said. "I didn't ask for the money to be deposited into my account; it just showed up. And after I asked where it came from and whose it was, I couldn't get a straight answer ... so I figured the money was mine."Dungan spent all the money in about two weeks."I went ahead and used the money for ... school supplies and ... living expenses," he said.He also spent $400 on a new tattoo.The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has charged Dungan with one count of theft.Nevertheless, the situation might have been prevented.Desert Schools Federal Credit Union does not check the account holder's name against the account number."Basically, we do everything we can to protect our members, and under the ACH rules ... we're in compliance," said Jason Meyers, a spokesman for the credit union.The ACH, or Automated Clearing House, is a nationwide system that transfers money electronically.The system deals strictly with account numbers; however, individual institutions can take the extra step of matching names to accounts.Meyers said Hamouk is essentially out of luck."We're saying it was her error."Desert Schools Federal Credit Union recommends their customers take these steps to protect themselves when depositing money into an account:

Always double check your account information when making a direct deposit or online transfer.
Make sure you are transferring funds to the intended recipient.
Reference the numbers at the bottom of your personal checks if you are unsure of your institution's routing number.
When in doubt, contact your financial institution for your correct account number.
Call your bank for a direct deposit form just to be sure.

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