Business

Pennsylvania man accidentally credited $92 quadrillion by PayPal

PayPal, Inc.AfricaHuman Interest

For two whole minutes, a Pennsylvania man was the richest man in the world.

Richer even than Carlos Slim, the Mexican tycoon, who's estimated by Forbes to be worth $73 billion. 

Chris Reynolds, a public relations executive, told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that when he checked his email Saturday, he saw his PayPal statement was ready.

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Upon opening his statement, Reynolds saw an incredible figure next to the balance line: 

$92,233,720,368,547,800. 

That's $92.2 quadrillion, or roughly 5,500 times the country's national debt, which stands at about $16.7 trillion. 

"I was skeptical," Reynolds said. "And my skepticism was validated within two minutes."

When he logged into his PayPal account, he saw his balance was $0. 

He decided to have some fun, though, and posted a screen grab on Facebook of his electronic statement showing the outrageous sum. 

Friends quickly chimed in. Though there was a minus sign in front of the sum, one friend said the balance was, in fact, positive. 

On Wednesday, after the Philadelphia Daily News featured his story in the paper, PayPal contacted Reynolds.

The San Jose-based company sought to soothe things over with Reynolds and offered to donate an undisclosed sum of money to a charity of his choice. 

Reynolds declined to say how much, but said the donation was "many digits short" of the $92 quadrillion. But "it was a meaningful donation," he said. 

A PayPal spokesman didn't offer an explanation for the glitch but said the company was looking into the matter. 

"This was obviously an error and appreciate that Mr. Reynolds understands this was the case," the company said in a statement. 

Reynolds, a baseball fan, said that if he had indeed been made rich, one of his first purchases would have been the Philadelphia Phillies. "I've always wanted to own the Phillies," he said.

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ricardo.lopez@latimes.com

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