Family slams 'unconscionable' actions of TD Bank after 95-year-old woman withdraws $10K in scam
The family of a 95-year-old Ontario woman tricked into withdrawing $10,000 in the middle of a major snowstorm said it's “absolutely unconscionable" that bank employees allowed her to take out the money without contacting her power of attorney.
On a late January day, Elise received approximately seven phone calls to her Burlington, Ont., home.
Her only grandson had been arrested for a drug offence and needed $10,000 to cover bail, the caller explained to Elise, whom CTV News Toronto has agreed to refer to by pseudonym at the request of her family.
A winter storm that saw some parts of southern Ontario get up to 20 cm of snow had just begun to hit Burlington, but the 95-year-old wanted to help her grandson, her family told CTV News Toronto, and so she did what they instructed her.
“It’s disgraceful,” Bernie Mueller, Elise’s son, told CTV News Toronto.
Mueller said he had previously explained to his mother the nature of “grandparent scams,” yet, in the heat of the moment, the senior was overcome with emotion, he said, and ultimately was able to be victimized.
“Folks may talk to elderly people in their family about the scam, but the skill level of these criminals is such that it doesn't even matter,” Mueller said. “They just know what to say, how to say it, and what to do to make sure that the individual they're preying upon operates strictly on the emotion of wanting to help a family member in trouble.”
The incident happened on Jan. 25, starting with a barrage of calls made to Elise’s home, informing her of her grandson’s fraudulent detention.
They requested $10,000 from her in exchange for the release of her grandson on bail.
“They were able to override her common sense and understanding, and just get her caught up in emotion,” Mueller said.
After about an hour of conversation, Mueller said the scammers called a taxi for Elise, arranging for her to be picked up at her residence and driven to her bank – a TD branch located on Brant St. in Burlington.
Mueller said he remains unsure whether the cab his mother entered was from a registered taxi company, or belonged to those responsible.
“You have to appreciate that my mother, she's 95, uses a walker and has congestive heart failure, so in her mind, it was a taxi,” he said.
Once at the branch, at about 5:30 p.m., Mueller said Elise entered the bank and asked the teller for the money, but was initially met with suspicion – so much so that the teller accompanied her to the parking lot to see who she was with.
Despite initial doubts, TD withdrew the $10,000 from Elise’s account and gave it to her, before Elise then handed it over in the hopes of assisting her loved one.
Elise was then driven home, uninjured but down a significant amount of money.
Mueller, who acts as Elise’s power of attorney and whose name is on her bank account, said the bank did not contact him during the transaction.
“I don't even have the words to describe the disappointment,” he said.
Once Mueller's son found out his grandmother had been a victim of theft, he immediately reported it to Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS).
When reached for comment, HRPS confirmed to CTV News Toronto the incident had been reported to them but said they could not provide further details due to the ongoing investigation.
After realizing she had been scammed, Elise became very upset, Mueller said.
“I’ve been speaking to her and trying to reiterate and explain that it's not her fault,” he said. “She feels very guilty – after all the emotion is out of it, common sense begins to kick in.”
“She's very upset that she fell for any of this in the heat of the moment,” he said.
But the victimization of his mother and the subsequent criminal investigation have not marked the end of Mueller’s troubles – he claims TD has been less than helpful in the aftermath of the crime.
'THE TRAIL HAS GOTTEN SO COLD'
According to Mueller, the bank has failed to communicate in a timely fashion with his family and have not properly cooperated with the investigation.
“The police don't even have the most basic information of what happened and are being prevented from speaking to bank employees,” he said. “They are clearly motivated by protecting themselves and there is obviously a problem with how this was done.”
When reached for comment, TD it’s “sorry to hear about [Elise]’s circumstance and understand how distressing this must be.”
“We can confirm our internal team has been engaged and an information file has been opened. TD will provide any required details and information should an investigation be opened,” they said in an emailed statement.
The bank did not respond to claims that it had failed to fully cooperate with the investigation. HRPS also said they could not comment on the level of participation of the bank.
It’s been nearly a week since the incident, and Mueller says his family and police are no closer to finding those responsible.
“Days and days have passed since this occurred,” he said. “The trail has gotten so cold – it's ridiculous – the investigators are trying to put this together piecemeal without the best evidence."
He said Elisa has been a customer of TD’s for more than 50 years and described her current level of service as “absolutely unconscionable.”
Aside from the ongoing criminal investigation, Mueller said he hopes banks across the country consider stricter protocols when withdrawing money from accounts with power of attorneys named on them.
“If you were in the position to notify the bank, in writing, as a power of attorney, that you need to be notified when anything over $1,000 is being withdrawn, I think that would be a really powerful tool,” he said.
Toronto Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
'Everything is interwoven': Trudeau and Biden vow continued Canada-U.S. collaboration during historic visit
U.S President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have announced updates on a number of cross-border issues, after a day of meetings on Parliament Hill.
Incredible photos show northern lights dancing across much of Canada
Sky-gazers and shutterbugs across much of Canada were treated to a spectacular display of northern lights Thursday night and into Friday morning.
Most Canadians believe speeding tickets should be tied to income: poll
A new survey conducted by Research Co. found that the majority of Canadians support tying speeding tickets to income, otherwise known as ‘progressive punishment.’
Trudeau says his kids 'no longer access' TikTok after Canadian government ban
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's teenage daughter and son, Ella-Grace and Xavier, 'no longer access TikTok,' the father of three told reporters during a joint press conference with U.S. President Joe Biden in Ottawa on March 24.
Ontario crypto king kidnapped, tortured in an attempt to get millions in ransom, documents say
Ontario’s self-described crypto king was allegedly abducted, tortured, and beaten for days as his kidnappers looked to solicit millions in ransom, his father told a court in December.
As it happened: U.S. President Joe Biden's trip to Canada
After a day of meetings on Parliament Hill, U.S President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced updates on various cross-border issues. CTVNews.ca breaks down Biden's first presidential visit to Canada, as it happened.
Canada’s Ivvavik National Park among most remote and beautiful places in the world: Big 7 Travel
Global travel site Big 7 Travel ranked the most remote and beautiful places in the world, and only one Canadians location—Ivvavik national park—is among them.
Eugene Levy, Sarah Polley, Jean Chretien, the two Michaels among guests at Biden gala dinner
Notable people will be in attendance at Friday’s gala dinner with U.S. President Joe Biden, hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, including former prime ministers and celebrities.
Sophie Gregoire Trudeau introduces Jill Biden to curling during Ottawa visit
The first lady of the United States got a sweeping introduction to Canadian sports culture in Ottawa Friday as Sophie Gregoire Trudeau took Jill Biden to the curling rink for her first trip to Ottawa.
Man in life-threatening condition after shooting in Pierrefonds-Roxboro: paramedics
A man in his 30s was sent to hospital in life-threatening condition after being shot in Pierrefonds-Roxboro Friday evening, paramedics say.
Airbnb to pull listings that don't have proper permits in Quebec
Short-term rental company Airbnb says it will pull listings that don't have a proper permit from the Quebec government. The San Francisco-based company made the announcement eight days after a fatal fire destroyed an Old Montreal building that housed illegal rentals.
Legault hails Canada-U.S. deal on Roxham Road 'a great victory'
Quebec Premier François Legault said he was 'happy' that Roxham Road will be 'closed' at midnight Friday as part of the agreement announced between Canada and the United States on asylum seekers.
Can this notorious London, Ont. intersection be made safer with a red light camera?
A new safety assessment of the Hamilton Road and Highbury Avenue intersection makes several recommendations to address the high number of collisions.
Cinder block thrown through window of south London restaurant
A London man was arrested early Friday morning after being spotted throwing a cinder block through the front door of a restaurant, according to police.
Byron barn battle takes another twist: volunteers vow to assist elderly man with hard labour
An elderly Byron man said he received numerous offers of help to clear away rotting barn rubble from his property, after a London, Ont. city council committee endorsed a recommendation to grant a demolition permit.
Fake ‘Catch the Ace’ tickets reportedly being sold in Hagersville
Organizers of the ‘Catch the Ace’ lottery in Hagersville are warning the public about fake tickets as the jackpot climbs closer to $2 million.
Northern lights put on a stunning show in southern Ontario
Southern Ontario got a show-stopping look at the northern lights Thursday and there may be a repeat performance this weekend.
Alleged death threats sent to regional chair, court documents show
A Kitchener man has been arrested by Waterloo regional police for making alleged death threats towards Region of Waterloo Chair Karen Redman.
Ontario's 2022 Sunshine List is out. Who was the top earner?
Ontario's so-called sunshine list is out and the three top paid public employees in the province are all at Ontario Power Generation.
Sudbury police charge OPP sergeant with criminal harassment
CTV News has learned an Ontario Provincial Police sergeant with 22 years of service has been charged in Sudbury with criminal harassment.
Ontario PC cabinet minister Merrilee Fullerton resigns
Merrilee Fullerton, a longtime cabinet minister in Doug Ford's government, unexpectedly resigned Friday, forcing the premier to name a new minister to the children, community and social services post.
Biden visits Ottawa: U.S. president wraps up two-day trip to Ottawa
Heavy security and sparse crowds gathered in downtown Ottawa for day two of U.S. President Joe Biden's whirlwind visit to the capital.
Here's a look at the highest paid public sector employees in Ottawa in 2022
Ottawa's former city manager, the top doctor and a deputy police chief were the highest paid public servants at Ottawa City Hall and Ottawa Police headquarters last year.
Fullerton resigns as MPP for Kanata-Carleton
Kanata-Carleton Progressive Conservative MPP Merrilee Fullerton announced on Twitter Friday afternoon that she had tendered her resignation to Premier Doug Ford.
Windsor-Essex brewers lament impact of looming 6.3% alcohol tax
On April 1, a 6.3 per cent federal excise tax goes into effect on beer, wine and spirits producers.
Windsor police officer demoted for ‘unnecessary’ arrest of two Black men
A Windsor police officer has been demoted for neglect of duty for the “unnecessary” arrest of two Black men.
Provincial funding boost in mental health services welcome news for Windsor-Essex health officials
Initial reaction to Ontario's 2023 budget indicates it’s being well received by pharmacists and mental health care officials in Windsor-Essex.
Barrie restaurants, bars brace for most significant alcohol tax jump in 40 years
Canada's restaurant industry is bracing for the biggest jump in the country's alcohol excise duty in more than 40 years, spurring warnings the tax hike could force some bars and restaurants out of business.
One of 7 men charged in Elnaz Hajtamiri case to be released from custody
One of the seven men charged in connection with the alleged frying pan assault and attempted abduction of Ontario woman Elnaz Hajtamiri weeks before her disappearance will be released from custody.
Barrie man at the centre of violent arrest sentenced for unrelated charges
Skyler Kent, the man violently arrested in downtown Barrie in 2021, pleaded guilty to multiple unrelated charges and one for threatening the arresting officer and was sentenced Friday.
EXCLUSIVE | Students hailed for aiding stabbed staff member; school principal and parents thank community
Two students are being recognized for their quick actions, and school administration and parents are thanking the community, after a difficult week at Charles P. Allen High School in Bedford, N.S.
Woman injured in west Saint John shooting, three suspects arrested
Police say a woman is in hospital following a shooting in west Saint John, N.B., early Friday morning and three suspects have been arrested.
Provinces compete to retain, recruit health-care workers
As competition for health-care workers heats up, so too does the bidding.
1 missing as 2 houses burn in afternoon fire in northwest Calgary
One person is missing and a dog is dead after two homes caught fire Friday afternoon in northwest Calgary.
Missing Windsor Park woman and toddler located safe
A woman and toddler who were reported missing from the community of Windsor Park are safe.
MONSTR, Calgary director Tank Standing Buffalo's latest animated short, streaming on HBO Max
A Calgary animator's newest cartoon started streaming Thursday night on HBO Max.
'If it ain't broke, don't fix it': Proposed liquor in grocery stores pilot brings mixed reactions
There are mixed feelings in Manitoba about a proposed plan to expand liquor sales and put beer, wine and hard alcohol on the shelves of retailers like grocery stores.
'A sad thing that happens': Town of Arborg dealing with increase in stray cats
A town in Manitoba's Interlake area is trying to find new homes for stray cats that were dumped in the community.
Manitoba First Nation enforcing new measures to combat drug crisis
A Manitoba First Nation is enacting measures to combat an ongoing drug and addiction crisis while also calling on the federal and provincial governments to do more to address drug-related deaths within northern remote Indigenous communities.
'Fentanyl, it’s destroying everybody': Homeless crisis grows in Chilliwack
On the streets of Chilliwack, there are more homeless people than ever before, and some of them are barely teenagers.
Demand grows to ban octopus farms in Canada
Over 11,000 people have signed a petition demanding the Canadian government ban octopus farms from opening in the country.
'It was a whole dance of lights': Aurora borealis peeks through the clouds in Vancouver
Samuel Troya saw the northern lights over Vancouver once before, about a year and a half ago, but it was nothing like the spectacle he witnessed Friday morning.
Road closures for Edmonton police funeral procession announced
The procession is scheduled to leave the Alberta Legislature grounds toward Rogers Place at approximately 11:45 a.m.
Alberta Sheriffs receiving additional officers and more powers with new funding
The Alberta Sheriffs Branch will have expanded powers and play a bigger role in combating rural crime with new funding, the provincial government said Friday.
'More concrete and parking': Critics concerned over Hawrelak Park trees after FOIP request
Members of Edmonton's River Valley Conservation Coalition board say a freedom of information request shows the city plans to remove trees in Hawrelak Park to make room for infrastructure during the controversial three-year rehabilitation project at the park.