Posts Tagged "cheques"


TD Bank refuses to refund art student $600 in fraudulent cheques | CBC News

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A Vancouver man is frustrated TD Canada Trust will not reimburse him for $600 in fraudulent cheques that were cashed on his bank account this summer.

Preston Buffalo, a student at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, says he misplaced his chequebook but isn’t sure exactly when or how.

The bank says Preston Buffalo didn’t exercise due diligence in protecting his cheque book and said it won’t refund the money.

Buffalo discovered the theft in late July when he returned from a visit with family in Edmonton. 

He said six cheques, each for $100, and none of them written by Buffalo, were cashed between July 15 and July 27.

The transactions wiped out his savings account.

“In Vancouver, $600 is the difference between being homeless, or not, in a month. It’s that tight,” said Buffalo, 39.

Buffalo lives on disability payments and is a mature student Emily Carr. His First Nation in Alberta pays his tuition. 

Two of six fraudulent cheques different signatures. (Submitted by Preston Buffalo)


Buffalo immediately reported the discrepancy in his account to the downtown Vancouver branch of TD Canada Trust. 

He says he and bank staff compared his signature cards on-file to signatures on the half dozen cheques. 

“It was nothing like how I sign my name,” said Buffalo. 

He says bank staff told him “clearly, this is not your signature.”

The bank indicated the cheques had been deposited through an ATM. Buffalo understood that after the bank reviewed surveillance video, the footage would confirm that he was not the culprit depositing the cheques and he would get his money back.

‘No due diligence’ says TD

TD’s fraud division, however, had a different opinion. 

After interviewing Buffalo and reviewing his case, it determined he didn’t exercise “due diligence” in protecting his cheque book.

He was told his money would not be returned. 

In June, Buffalo had moved from one Vancouver apartment to another. 

TD Canada Trust has Preston Buffalo’s appeal under review but has given no timeline as to when there may be a resolution. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

He was about to pay his July rent at the new place when he realized he couldn’t find his cheque book. 

Buffalo simply assumed it was in one of his unpacked boxes and he would look for it when he got back from his Alberta visit.

In the meantime, he paid his rent with a bank draft and went on vacation. 

Buffalo doesn’t know what happened to his cheque book. He isn’t sure if he left it at his old apartment or if he mistakenly threw it out, but somehow it fell into the wrong hands.   

Buffalo is appealing TD’s ruling. 

TD: ‘matter still active’  

In an email, Ryan Sang Lee, TD Canada Trust’s manager of corporate and public affairs, said the matter is still active and the bank won’t provide an official statement until “the process plays out.” In a subsequent email, Sang said the bank is working with the customer to resolve the issue.

Lawyer Priyan Samarakoone, says there’s no excuse for financial institutions to not verify all cheques no matter their amount. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)


‘No excuse’ 

Meanwhile, a civil litigation lawyer says the bank could have prevented the fraud.  

Priyan Samarakoone said most financial institutions only verify signatures on cheques deposited at automated teller machines over a certain value, and ones with lower amounts just pass through. 

“The pressure needs to be on the big institutions to verify every single cheque that comes through,” said Samarakoone. 

“There’s no excuse for banks to not verify all cheques.”

Verifying every cheque, he says, would protect consumers and banks. 

One of the biggest issues for banks, he says, are people who wrongly claim they’ve been defrauded in an attempt to scam the bank.  

Police investigation 

Buffalo has reported the incident to Vancouver police. He wants whoever took his money to be stopped — and feels the bank is not interested in doing the same. 

“It seems easy for them to be — ‘Nope, it was your fault. Stamp. Done. You’re not getting your money,'” said Buffalo. 

Buffalo said before his money disappeared it was the first time in years that he felt he had his head above water. 

Now, he’s struggling again. 

With files from Paisley Woodward


Compensation cheques begin rolling in for Woodlands School survivors

by admin

Survivors excluded from a previous Woodlands settlement have finally started receiving their compensation payments for years of systemic abuse at the B.C. institution. Survivor Bill McArthur is pictured receiving his compensation cheque from Health Minister Adrian Dix on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.


Survivors excluded from a previous Woodlands settlement have finally started receiving their compensation payments for years of systemic abuse at the B.C. institution.

Individuals who lived at Woodlands prior to 1974 will now receive $10,000 in ex-gratia payments, which means they are voluntarily paid out without admission of liability. Those who lived at Woodlands post-1974 and who received compensation as part of a 2010 settlement will also receive a top-up to a maximum of $10,000.

Bill McArthur, a former Woodlands resident and survivors’ advocate, received his payment on Monday from Minister of Health Adrian Dix.

“It’s been a bittersweet victory in that I’m very happy I was able to gain compensation for all the people who weren’t able to get it and to represent all those who have no voice,” said McArthur, who was sent to Woodlands at age five.

“But it’s been bittersweet in that I regret there are so many who have passed away in this long crusade for justice.”

McArthur said he was happy about Monday’s milestone but said “it should not have had to take so long.” The B.C. government first announced in March of this year that it would be paying out compensation to those excluded by the 2010 settlement.

“I think it’s very important to acknowledge that a wrong was done,” McArthur said. “That there was wrongdoing against some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“I think it’s very important … to give these people back some sense of dignity and self-respect and recognition.”

As of Monday, a total of 314 pre-1974 Woodlands survivors had been identified and contacted by officials. Dix estimates there are up to 1,500 survivors who have yet to be compensated and invited those people to come forward. The government estimates the compensation would total between $9 million and $15 million and expects payments to be complete by April 2019.

New Westminster’s Woodlands Institution was opened 1878 and housed individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness. It was first known as the Provincial Asylum for the Insane and underwent multiple name changes before finally becoming Woodlands in 1974. The facility was run by the Ministry of Health before being handed over to the Ministry of Human Resources in 1974.

The facility was closed in 1996, gutted by a fire in 2008 and destroyed in 2011.

A 2002 report commissioned by the provincial government found that there had been widespread sexual, physical and psychological abuse of Woodlands’ residents for years. Former residents told of extreme isolation, beatings, both cold and scalding showers, and rape. Kids were lined up naked to use the washroom and others were dragged by their hair.

The ensuing government refusal to accept the report prompted a class action suit in 2002. It was settled in 2010 and compensation was paid out to residents who lived at Woodlands but only those who did so after Aug. 1, 1974.

The B.C. government imposed the 1974 cutoff as that was when the law permitting people to sue government for wrongdoing came into effect. As many as 500 former patients were left empty-handed, with advocates calling the arbitrary date morally and ethically wrong even if legal.

Dix first met with pre-1974 Woodlands survivors and advocates, including McArthur, in 2005.

On Monday, he said one of the most striking memories from having worked on the Woodlands file for so long is recalling the faces at that 2005 meeting who have since passed on, such as Len Zimmer, and are unable to see Monday’s milestone development.

“I looked around that table, at the people who were there that day … and saw how important it was to them, how eloquent they were and thoughtful they were and caring they were and how much this had affected them,” Dix recalled.

“I think of the people who didn’t live to get justice and then those who did.”

Both McArthur and Dix shared the sentiment that while this chapter in B.C.’s history was a dark and painful one, it would also serve as a lesson and reminder for future generations of British Columbians to treat those with developmental disabilities with compassion and kindness.

Survivors or their guardians and caregivers who have not been contacted or received compensation are being encouraged to come forward by contacting 1-888-523-7192 or by email at [email protected].

[email protected]

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