Scotiabank threatened with legal action by 2 customers over missing money

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Scotiabank threatened with legal action by 2 customers over missing money

Scotiabank has been hit with pre-action protocol letters from two of its customers over its failure to reimburse them for money that was allegedly missing from their accounts. 

According to a GML report, the lawyer for the two customers, who hail from Couva and Williamsville, sent the letters to the bank’s managing director Gayle Pazos, late last month and on Monday. 

On April 28, the attorney for a 74-year-old retired heavy equipment operator from McBean Village in Couva, Vishaal Siewsaran, of Freedom Law Chambers, claimed that after his client retired from the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) in 2008 he sought to deposit his $191,059.25 gratuity payment into an interest-bearing fixed deposit account. 

The report claimed that when the elderly man went to the bank last year to withdraw money to pay for medical expenses and was allegedly told that the account did not exist.

Siewsaran pursued a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Ministry of Finance, which supplied the cheque that was paid by the Central Bank. 

“It is undisputed that the bank received our client’s cheque along with his instructions on how to treat with those monies,” he said. 

“It is appalling that after the bank received our client’s monies, the monies somehow magically disappeared,” Siewsaran added, as he claimed that the bank breached its fiduciary duties to his client. 

Siewsaran called on the bank to return his client’s money plus interest calculated from 2008. 
His client is also seeking damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and negligent misrepresentation. 

Siewsaran also called on the bank to disclose the outcome of its internal investigation into what transpired in his client’s case. 

Stating that his law firm had previous clients who threatened similar legal action before settling with the bank, Siewsaran said: “We also wish to know what changes were made to your internal systems to prevent the theft of innocent customers’ money from recurring.”

Siewsaran’s second letter, which was sent on Monday. pertained to the case of a woman from Williamsville, who is claiming that money was withdrawn from her accounts without her knowledge. 

The woman discovered the theft of $27,000 from her accounts after receiving a strange text message in November, last year. 
She reported the incident to the police and her bank branch, but in January, was reportedly informed that the money had been transferred to a man, who she claimed she did not know. 

Later that month, the bank informed her that she would not be refunded as the withdrawals were deemed non-fraudulent. 

She then reported the incident to the Financial Services Ombudsman. 

In the legal letter, Siewsaran claimed that despite what transpired, the bank made numerous requests for her to pay interest on one of her affected accounts, which operates like a hybrid loan facility.

“While she is desperately trying to recover from this unexpected financial blow, she is now being demanded to provide monies in the form of interest on a debt to which she did not contribute,” he said. 

Siewsaran also questioned the bank’s classification of the withdrawals as he pointed out that the police had not given his client an update on their investigation.

The woman is seeking repayment of the money as well as damages for breach of contract, fraud, and negligence. 

The bank was given a month to respond to both legal threats before lawsuits are filed.