Several banks in Austria confirmed Wednesday that in recent weeks, customers made inquiries about the U.S. stimulus cheques, according to Washington Post.
Bank officials and media outlets in Austria report that countless people have cashed those cheques.
Some of those ineligible recipients were perplexed by the unexpected allocation.
Cheque Seems Fraudulent
73-year-old Manfred Barnreiter was one of the recipients of the erroneous cheques.
He initially thought that the economic impact cheque he received must be a hoax.
We made our way “to the bank quietly,” the pensioner said.
We were informed they’ll have a look “if it’s real,” Mr. Barnreiter told Austria’s public broadcaster, ORF.
After “three days”, the money reflected “in our bank account,” he added.
Although Mr. Barnreiter and his spouse both ineligible, they each received $1,200 (£921).
Neither of them are US residents nor hold US citizenship.
Although in the 1960s, Mr. Barnreiter briefly worked in the United States.
Mr. Barnheiter said he still receives a small annuity from that period of employment.
Gerald Meissl of Upper Austria’s Sparkasse bank said several Austrians who had recently returned from the United States had received the cheques, as well.
The senior bank official added they previously worked in the U.S. as au pairs.
It is uncertain how many US economic stimulus cheques were cashed in Austria wrongly.
Some recipients may be ineligible, however, some are U.S. citizens living abroad, thus fulfilling the criteria.
What Are The Repercussions?
Thousands of foreigners who temporarily worked in the U.S. received stimulus checks by mistake, NPR reported last month.
Government officials said that tax returns that were improperly filed are likely the reason for the accidental payments.
If the recipients cashed the cheques despite being ineligible, they would have difficulties in reentering the United States.
They said that another possible consequence is a change in visa status.
A Series Of Mishaps
The economic stimulus cheques mistakenly sent to non-U.S. citizens are the latest in a series of blunders, NPR reported.
Previously, almost $1.4 billion worth of stimulus checks were sent to dead Americans.
The IRS says non-U.S. residents who received stimulus cheques by mistake should send it back.