A Calgary real estate investor says a bank is holding back $415,000 over a misplaced certified cheque and it’s cost him tens of thousands of dollars.
Peter Hasna says he took a certified cheque issued by a buyer’s lawyer in a property sale to a Scotiabank to get it certified on Aug. 11, 2017. He asked bank employees to photocopy the cheque for his own records and then left. When he went to deposit the certified cheque at his home branch a short time later, he couldn’t find it. He had only the photocopy.
He called the original branch to see if it had been left in the photocopier. It wasn’t there. He rushed back to the bank and was told to sign and have notarized a bond of indemnification “stating the fact that since I lost that cheque, if that cheque ever comes back I’m still liable.”
He complied. He was then told he needed an insurance bond to protect the bank for the whole $415,000. He says he contacted several insurers but was told that, because he wasn’t the issuer of the cheque, he could not get a bond. Hasna says the bank told him that without the bond, there would be a 10-year hold on the funds.
He says he has contacted both the office of the president of Scotiabank and the bank’s ombudsman and both indicated those requirements are at the discretion of the branch manager.
In the meantime, says Hasna, the bank is making interest on the money while he is out tens of thousands in lost interest and legal fees.
“The money is still in the trust account of the bank. They’re waiting for somebody with my name to cash that specific cheque but I’m that person and I don’t have that cheque.”
Hasna says he is scheduled to appear in court next week to argue for access to the funds.
In a statement to CTV Calgary, Scotiabank said: “We very much regret the position that this individual explains he is in. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide specific comment on this situation as the matter is now before the courts.”
The bank did say that a certified cheque is the same as cash and can’t be stopped and does not expire like a normal cheque.
“Replacing a lost, stolen, or destroyed certified cheque on the strength of a surety bond is standard practice, and protects the Bank from the potential liability of the cheque being presented for payment.”