A Calgary retiree says he was “sick to his stomach” after learning his bank wired more than $800,000 of his savings to fraudsters despite security red flags.
Rod McLeod, 75, was a longtime customer with Cidel Bank — one of dozens of private banks in Canada that handle wealth management for people with high incomes or sizeable assets.
“It has turned my life upside down,” says McLeod, a retired lawyer. “I expected them to protect me.”
McLeod is suing, alleging “negligence, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty” by Cidel in a statement of claim filed last week.
It’s one more case of what’s become a multibillion-dollar problem in Canada and the U.S., according to authorities.
Wire fraud is a “huge problem” and “so rampant,” investigator and former FBI agent Don Vilfer told Go Public, that better laws are needed in Canada and the U.S. to protect bank customers.
“Legislation in both Canada and the U.S. is behind in terms of requiring financial institutions to take certain steps … [to prevent] this kind of thing,” Vilfer said.
In September 2018, McLeod was excited to make an offer on a condo in Rancho Mirage, Calif. — just north of Palm Desert.
He had Cidel wire a deposit to a California bank account and waited for instructions on the outstanding balance of $619,000 US ($820,000 Cdn).
A few weeks later, an email supposedly from the realtor handling the sale, said the balance should go to a different bank — Chase Bank in Denver, Colo.