Tuesday, April 23, 2024

IT MATTERS TO MARIA – Client to bank: Where is my money?


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O’neal Slocombe has a will indicating his father left $150 000 in a trust fund to be divided among 19 people.

However, FirstCaribbean International Trust and Merchant Bank is telling him there is no money on the account.

An angry Slocombe wants to know where the money is?

The 67-year-old, whose father Clarence Watson died in 1982, said the puzzling thing about this scenario was that the bank was the one which originally informed him the money was in the trust fund.

“After my father died, the bank wrote all of the people listed on the trust fund. I went into the bank and they produced the will and tell me that the money is on the bank, but in order for me to get the money, I had to get the will probated.”

While the legal process took several years to complete, Slocombe said when he went back to the bank with the necessary documents, he was shocked when he was informed there was no money on the account.

According to the will, Slocombe’s father left amounts $500, $1 000, $10 000, $20 000 and $50 000 for his wife, children from different relationships, siblings, aunt, nephews, nieces and even friends.

“I had a meeting with the bank’s lawyer and he is telling me that just because they had the will, it don’t mean that there was money in the bank, but I said to him that can’t work.”

His father opened the trust fund in 1976 at the then Canadian Bank of Commerce Trust Company. However, he pointed out that that company merged with First Caribbean Trust and went through three name changes over the years.

Describing his father as a generous man who was very wealthy, Slocombe said he worked as a speculator.

“The reason why my father give this money away was because he wanted to give everybody something,” the upset man said.

He added he had had several meetings with the bank but had not been able to get the matter resolved.

“They have not shown me the account so I can see where the money went. I went there yesterday [last Monday] and me and them was at war because I am not accepting what they tell me.”

He has even made checks with the Central Bank, but to no avail.

“I went to the Central Bank because after a certain amount of time, FirstCaribbean was to send the money there. A lady from the Central Bank call me five times and she tell me it is not there. This is madness,” Slocombe cried, pointing out that the trust fund should have accumulated interest over the 41 years since it was opened.

The man said he was very hurt about this situation because just before his father died, a family member had stolen thousands of dollars from him while he was lying sick in hospital.

“This is the most hurtful thing. I feel so upset because they [the bank] are the ones who produced all the documents to me and tell me to get the will probate. If there was no money in the trust fund, why would they let me go through all of this trouble to take out the letters of administration?”

Furthermore, Slocombe, who was left $1 000 from the money, said some of the people listed in the will, including his mother who lived in England for many years, and some of his half-siblings, had already passed away.

However, he said others were running him down to collect their share of the money.

“I am getting threats for this money already. All these people know about the money because the bank contacted all of them and they know that I was looking after it. They telling me that I got the money when I ain’t see one cent. I am telling them the bank has it because that is all I know.”

While Slocombe has not decided on his next move, he said he would keep fighting to get the money.

“You know how much run-around these people make me do? They send me all over the place and now they telling me there is no money. All I want to know is, where is the money?” he asked.

When contacted, Debra King, director of corporate communications at FirstCaribbean, emailed this response: “The bank has a duty to maintain client confidentiality. As such, we are unable to comment on the specifics of a client matter, even if that client himself ventilates the matter in the public domain.
Any conversations we have on subject of necessity will be with the client.

“However, you can be assured that the bank takes all concerns brought to us by our clients very seriously, and operates to the highest standards of integrity
at all times.” (MB)


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