Ontario family suing RBC for $62K

Montreal Gazette – Thu, 18 Aug, 2011

Signing cheques without proper power of attorney. Using the life savings of a senior to buy a car, furniture, travel and dine out. Leaving that senior penniless and destitute.

Sound familiar? This time it’s not Earl Jones doing the defrauding, it was a 44-yearold caregiver in Essex, Ont., southeast of Windsor.

But like the Jones case, the victim and her family are going after the Royal Bank of Canada for alleged negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.

The family of Dorothy Linklater, 93, are suing the RBC after $82,000 was bled dry from her account over a two-year period.

The Royal Bank branch in Essex contacted Linklater’s family in August 2009 to say that the account was empty after cheques began bouncing.

Carrie Bertrand, the daughter of Linklater’s neighbour, was supposedly taking care of the elderly woman. Bertrand looted the account of the woman between March 2007 and August 2009, and used the money to buy televisions, a computer, tattoos, body piercings, a car and pay for casino outings and restaurant meals.

“She was living rent-free and was supposed to cook, but she brought her son and his girlfriend into the house and they went on a spending orgy with the lady’s money,” said Windsor Star reporter Doug Schmidtr, who covered the case against the caregiver.

Bertrand was sentenced to 14 months of house arrest in Windsor earlier this year after she plead guilty and made $20,000 in restitution to her victim.

Now the family wants RBC to pay up the remaining $62,000 plus legal costs. The lawsuit against the bank alleges RBC failed to monitor who had access to Linklater’s money, and accuses the bank of “breach of contract,” “negligence” and “breach of fiduciary duty” for not checking that Bertrand had the right papers and permission to remove money from the account. The claim was deposited on Aug. 2.

The petitioners allege during those two years no one at the bank ever questioned Bertrand’s withdrawals or the cheques that were drawn on the account where she was not the acting power of attorney.

When the bank discovered that cheques were bouncing, they seized those cheques and the ATM cards that Bertrand had been using and destroyed them. And then called police.

“The bank alerted police after they destroyed the evidence? That’s where the obstruction of justice investigation comes in,” Schmidtr said of additional claims against RBC by the Ontario Provincial Police.

Linklater is now living with a niece in Ottawa.

In Montreal, the victims of Jones are seeking $40 million from the Royal Bank.

Rina Cortese, director of media relations for the RBC was asked by The Gazette how many lawsuits are currently outstanding against the bank from victims of fraud who allege negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.

“We work hard to earn the right to be our customers’ first choice, and to live our values of service, teamwork, responsibility, diversity and integrity. We are proud of the trust we’ve earned, and our first priority is to address our clients’ concerns,” Cortese wrote to The Gazette in response.

asutherland@ montrealgazette.com http://ca.news.yahoo.com/ontario-family-suing-rbc-62k-091315342.html

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