All that the 22-year-old Malaysian Chan Seng Yee used was a fake passport and the gift of gab, to spin a tale of losing his wallet and mobile phone and applying to replace his lost bank card.
"By the time anyone realised what Chan Seng Yee was up to, he'd hit up a string of banks across Melbourne and made off with more than AUD$680,000 (over RM2.1 million) in 34 separate transactions.
"Armed with a fake passport, he'd built a small fortune in a month with apparent ease," Australian news portal The Age reports.
However, Chan is not the mastermind and appears to have been recruited for the bank robbery by a syndicate. The Age reports that he was allegedly paid AUD$10,000 (over RM31K) for his role in the scam each time.
Chan, who came to Australia in 2013 on a student visa, had been struggling to make ends meet as a nightclub promoter when he was offered a chance to make easy money, by pretending to be someone else in approaching banks to steal money from targeted bank accounts.
According to court documents, Chan met an individual who is believed to be a member of an international syndicate at Crown Casino last. He was offering "fast cash" and the chance to make a staggering AUD$30,000 (over RM98K) in a month.
All he had to do was assume someone else's identity, walk up to a bank counter after memorising a name, phone number, email address and date of birth.
Chan reportedly told police that his first 'sting' was on August 5, when he walked into the South Melbourne branch of the Bank of Melbourne and asked for AUD$30,000 in cash.
He told a tall tale about having lost his mobile phone and wallet, requesting a replacement bank card under the fake identity. His confession also revealed the workings of a well-organised syndicate, able to target potential victims and provide forged identity documents while their modus operandi also revealed a detailed knowledge of each branch targeted.
Chan said that he was driven to each bank branch and closely monitored each time.
As with all crimes, the law finally caught up with Chan when one of the victims discovered that internet banking password had changed and his ATM card no longer worked.
Chan was finally caught on CCTV at Westpac and Bank of Melbourne branches 23 times, leading to his arrest and full confession, the court was told.
According to media reports, none of the money has been recovered although the banks have reimbursed the victims in this surprising heist, dubbed a 'modern day bank robbery' spree.
The Age reports that Chan was sentenced last month to three years in prison with a non-parole period of 18 months for his role in the scam.