Portuguese Language Blog

Brazilian College Student Becomes Richest Man in the World Posted by on Nov 26, 2008 in Brazilian News

…for a day.

Douglas de Mello, age 21, is a college student in Rio Grande do Sul. In October, he made a deposit in his bank account and looked at the receipt to make sure it had gone through. Much to his surprise, his account balance appeared as R$432 billion, three times the wealth of the richest man in the world, Warren Buffet, and 35 times the value of one of Brazil’s largest banks. The following day, his balance appeared as R$532 billion.

He reported the incident to the bank manager and the local police, who passed the matter on to the Federal Police. His bank informed him that there had been an system error, and no billion real deposit had actually been made. Nevertheless, the bank froze his account, as well as his credit and ATM cards, until the original balance was restored, for a mere R$700.

But police are still investigating the case, and Douglas’ life has become “a living hell.” He claims that the police tapped his phone and that he is constantly being followed. Many people, he says, still believe he is a billionaire. He hired a lawyer to deal with the case, but became so stressed out that he barely eats or sleeps, and had to quit his job. His parents fear that someone will attempt to kidnap him.

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