An Ontario man who likes to play lotteries and sweepstakes was delighted when he received a cheque for just over $30,000. He happily spent the money, but was stunned to learn a month later the cheque was a fraud.
Donald Marshall says a cheque arrived in the mail last year out of the blue, sealed in a cardboard Canada Post Xpresspost envelope.
The cheque for $30,319.03 came from a Nissan dealership in Collingwood and was made out in Marshall’s name with his address. Though there was no other paperwork with the cheque, he assumed his lottery dreams had finally come true.
“I was excited. I said, ‘This is fantastic,’” he told CTV Toronto’s Pat Foran.
Marshall has been buying sweepstakes calendars for years that support charities such as the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Some of the prizes include trips, cash, and vehicles. When Marshall got the cheque, he assumed he had finally won.
So he deposited the cheque at his local CIBC branch and waited to see if it cleared. When it did about a week later, Marshall decided to use the money to pay off debts and to visit his ill father in Nova Scotia.
Within a month, the money was all gone. That’s when the bank called to inform Marshall the cheque was fraudulent.
Marshall was stunned. He called the Collingwood dealership, who he says accused him of fraud.
“’Excuse me? I had nothing to do with this’,” Marshall says he told them.
The Collingwood Nissan dealership says the cheque was issued to Nissan Canada finance and was “intercepted somewhere in the mail system” and reimaged with Marshall’s name and address.
Marshall says that an investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.
He says he did buy a new Nissan three years ago, though not from the Collingwood dealership, which would have put his name in the Nissan system. He suspects there was some kind of mix-up.
What is clear is that Marshall has to pay the money back to his bank — with interest. That hasn’t been easy for him and has forced him to re-mortgage his house to access funds.
“I’m not a wealthy person and this has been a real kick in the pants,” he said.
A spokesperson from CIBC told CTV News that the onus was on Marshall, who should have done more to ascertain that the cheque was legitimate.
“If a cheque is deposited to your account and is later determined to be fraudulent, you will be required to return those funds,” spokesperson Olga Petrycki said.
Marshall has asked the bank and the dealership to help him pay back some of the money, but he has been told he shouldn’t have spent the cash without verifying where it came from.
“When in doubt, we encourage clients to ask for help in verifying a cheque or payment they are uncertain of or were not expecting,” Petrycki said.