Saturday, November 27

A disabled woman’s caregiver steals more than $ 10,000 from her

More than $ 10,000 was stolen from a disabled woman by an employee of a charity intended to help her with her finances.

Person who inserts the bank card into an ATM to withdraw money.

The caregiver used fraudulent transfer vouchers to move Aesha’s money to a separate account before withdrawing the money from an ATM with Aesha’s credit card.
Photo: 123RF

The case was brought to the dispute resolution service, Financial Services Complaints Limited (FSCL), by the charity, as it believed the credit union should have done more to stop the withdrawals.

The woman, named Aesha, did her banking with a credit union and received help from a local charity with her finances.

For Aesha’s safety, a process was established that required two signatures for withdrawals, Aesha and a senior employee of the charity, with Aesha signing in front of the cashier.

However, the charity clerk, who was also Aesha’s caretaker, altered the withdrawal sheets before going to the branch with Aesha. The caregiver also used fraudulent transfer vouchers to move Aesha’s money to a separate account, which then allowed the caregiver to withdraw money from an ATM, using Aesha’s EFTPOS card.

A cashier noticed that a withdrawal slip had been tampered with and the credit union contacted the charity.

The matter was referred to the police and an investigation was launched.

The charity also filed a complaint with FSCL, as they believed the credit union should have done more to prevent fraudulent withdrawals.

He argued that it was clear that the withdrawal vouchers had been tampered with, that there should have been a $ 100 withdrawal limit on Aesha’s account, and that transfers to the ATM account were not authorized at all.

The credit union said it did not believe it was responsible in any way, and that Aesha signed the withdrawal slip in front of the cashier was enough and that the charity, or Aesha’s family, should have collected the large withdrawals on the bank statements. regular.

They argued that FSCL should not investigate because the caretaker can be ordered to reimburse Aesha as part of the police investigation.

In its decision, FSCL said that by allowing one of the firms in the retirement to sign off-site, the credit union had contributed to the fraud that could take place.

FSCL also said that credit union staff should have noticed that the withdrawal voucher had obviously been tampered with and that the number of ATM withdrawals had skyrocketed. Previously, Aesha hadn’t used the ATM at all.

FSCL asked the credit union to repay 40 percent of the amount stolen and both parties agreed to this.

“Vulnerable consumers often require a higher level of assistance from the financial institutions they deal with because they may have greater needs, so additional effort and care will often be required from financial institutions,” said the CEO. from FSCL, Susan Taylor.

He said the fair conduct obligations of non-bank depository institutions are likely to increase in the near future, with the development of the Financial Institutions Conduct legislative framework.

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