Elderly Financial Abuse

I currently have a case being looked at by the financial ombudsman and would really appreciate any advice anyone can offer. I found out after my parents died that my sister had cleaned out their bank accounts using a third party mandate on their accounts. This was only able to happen as the family believed the finances were safe as my sister had a full power of attorney as she told us she had. We only found out when it was too late that RBS had allowed her for 8 years to wipe out our parents life savings using only a third party mandate form and with the local branch not seeing or speaking to any of my parents for many years. Now my issue is that i believe that surely the bank should have insisted on seeing the account holders to authorise this ( which i 100% know they didn’t ) and that surely after a reasonable amount of time had passed and 10’s of thousands of pounds then should they not have insisted on a full power of attorney and frozen accounts until one was in place? I have been fighting this for a long time and feel exhausted by it but still don’t just think they should just get away with this. The document the branch received has very clearly forged versions of my parents signatures and I currently have a handwriting expert analysing this to provide a report. I really need to know if there are any other avenues i could explore and if there is any way I can get the Police to take this more seriously? At present they have said there is nobody to report a crime as the victims are deceased but surely fraud is fraud and should be investigated especially when the suspects have not even had to answer any questions? Sorry for the long post but Thanks for taking the time to read x
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  • born_againborn_again Forumite
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    Sorry this maybe not what you want to hear, but I'm looking at this from a banking perspective.

    To be fair if she had the correct forms, then as far as the bank goes they will have done nothing wrong. As you said, you were aware that she had access to their accounts. 
    You can not expect the bank to ask to see people who maybe not in a position to visit them (certain complaint)

    TBH, And this is not a dig at you. 1 person running accounts is never a good idea. As you have found out. Sadly it is you saying it is fraud. Not your parents who may have given permission for her to have the funds. So in reality to the police there is nothing to investigate.

    I think the only option would be a civil (expensive) case. As I take it this only came to light once your parents had died and it came to the will.
    Life in the slow lane
  • nyermennyermen Forumite
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    born_again is right.  You could try a free 30 min session with a solicitor to get a view point maybe?  The key point will be, as power of attorney, the nominated party is required to act in their best interests, and if they didn't (is there proof?) then there may be a case.  

    Of course the money has to be recoverable to make it worthwhile, otherwise all you may achieve is a possible conviction against them.
    Peter

    Debt free - finally finished paying off £20k + Interest.
  • louisew_2louisew_2 Forumite
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    i’m sorry i probably didn’t explain well enough but there was no power of attorney in place we just took my sister at her word that she had it ( big mistake i know) that was the reason for my questioning the bank as the sums withdrawn were large amounts for two pensioners who were in care homes and whom the bank hadn’t seen or heard from in 8 years. The hope was to have someone hold those responsible ( my sister) to account but in order to do so the police have said as my parents are no longer here that the bank could effectively be the victim of the fraud and report the crime so our fight is with them to do this. The money is long gone but those who steal from vulnerable people ( especially their own parents) should be facing some sort of justice.
  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    You can undertake a private prosecution for a crime that has been committed. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • edited 9 March 2021 at 9:01PM
    born_againborn_again Forumite
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    edited 9 March 2021 at 9:01PM
    louisew_2 said:
    i’m sorry i probably didn’t explain well enough but there was no power of attorney in place we just took my sister at her word that she had it ( big mistake i know) that was the reason for my questioning the bank as the sums withdrawn were large amounts for two pensioners who were in care homes and whom the bank hadn’t seen or heard from in 8 years. The hope was to have someone hold those responsible ( my sister) to account but in order to do so the police have said as my parents are no longer here that the bank could effectively be the victim of the fraud and report the crime so our fight is with them to do this. The money is long gone but those who steal from vulnerable people ( especially their own parents) should be facing some sort of justice.
    In you OP you say there was a 3rd party mandate in place.
    Just quoting from HSBC at the bottom, but all banks should be the same.
    So if your sister had filled in one of these, then so long as bank were happy with the information contained, then they have done nothing wrong. Seeing the people giving permission is often not possible. They are in hospital, care home or not in UK.

    The fact the bank had not seen or heard from them means nothing. I take it that they were running the account and bills etc were going out, as per a normal bank account.
    I have never seen or been in any of my banks in 20+ years. That is pretty normal now with phone & internet banking. I know plenty of old people that do internet banks as well.

    While from your account your sister, if she has stolen from them (& you), should face justice. Without the input of the most important people with the information (your parents) for which I'm sorry for your loss. I think you are going to struggle to prove anything.


    I wish you well, and agree speaking to a solicitor, maybe the one that handled the will as to the best way forward. 

    >>Third Party Mandate

    If you're an HSBC customer, you can complete a third party mandate. This is an HSBC-specific document which tells us that you'd like to give another person access to your bank account and the right to operate it.

    When might you choose this option?

    If you needed help managing your accounts for convenience, for example if you were recovering from an operation and wanted someone to pay your bills or if you were going abroad and wouldn't have access to your accounts.

    >>

    Life in the slow lane
  • louisew_2louisew_2 Forumite
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    louisew_2 said:
    i’m sorry i probably didn’t explain well enough but there was no power of attorney in place we just took my sister at her word that she had it ( big mistake i know) that was the reason for my questioning the bank as the sums withdrawn were large amounts for two pensioners who were in care homes and whom the bank hadn’t seen or heard from in 8 years. The hope was to have someone hold those responsible ( my sister) to account but in order to do so the police have said as my parents are no longer here that the bank could effectively be the victim of the fraud and report the crime so our fight is with them to do this. The money is long gone but those who steal from vulnerable people ( especially their own parents) should be facing some sort of justice.
    In you OP you say there was a 3rd party mandate in place.
    Just quoting from HSBC at the bottom, but all banks should be the same.
    So if your sister had filled in one of these, then so long as bank were happy with the information contained, then they have done nothing wrong. Seeing the people giving permission is often not possible. They are in hospital, care home or not in UK.

    The fact the bank had not seen or heard from them means nothing. I take it that they were running the account and bills etc were going out, as per a normal bank account.
    I have never seen or been in any of my banks in 20+ years. That is pretty normal now with phone & internet banking. I know plenty of old people that do internet banks as well.

    While from your account your sister, if she has stolen from them (& you), should face justice. Without the input of the most important people with the information (your parents) for which I'm sorry for your loss. I think you are going to struggle to prove anything.


    I wish you well, and agree speaking to a solicitor, maybe the one that handled the will as to the best way forward. 

    >>Third Party Mandate

    If you're an HSBC customer, you can complete a third party mandate. This is an HSBC-specific document which tells us that you'd like to give another person access to your bank account and the right to operate it.

    When might you choose this option?

    If you needed help managing your accounts for convenience, for example if you were recovering from an operation and wanted someone to pay your bills or if you were going abroad and wouldn't have access to your accounts.

    >>

    Thank you so much for your replies ...i do hope the handwriting analysis will help but it’s proving to be an uphill struggle.
  • edited 11 March 2021 at 4:34PM
    FruitcakeFruitcake Forumite
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    edited 11 March 2021 at 4:34PM
    My brother and I had a third party mandate agreement with Barclays Bank in order to manage our parents' finances whilst we waited for our LPOAs to be processed.
    The bank refused to apply the mandate without first seeing both of our parents and both my brother and me in person, which is how it should be.

    It might be worth doing some more digging to see if the same applied to HSBC, what the FCA says about the matter, and whether a meeting with your sister and both your parents ever took place at the bank. 
    I married my cousin. I had to...
    I don't have a sister. :D
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  • born_againborn_again Forumite
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    Fruitcake said:
    My brother and I had a third party mandate agreement with Barclays Bank in order to manage our parents' finances whilst we waited for our LPOAs to be processed.
    The bank refused to apply the mandate without first seeing both of our parents and both my brother and me in person, which is how it should be.

    It might be worth doing some more digging to see if the same applied to HSBC, what the FCA says about the matter, and whether a meeting with your sister and both your parents ever took place at the bank. 
    OP's parents were with RBS.
    I used HSBC as a example.

    Although RBS seems to be the same, just a form to fill in by all parties.
    https://personal.rbs.co.uk/personal/life-moments/caring-for-vulnerable-relatives.html
    Life in the slow lane
  • louisew_2louisew_2 Forumite
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    Thank you for the replies I am 100% certain that both parents did not attend the branch in person and even the mandate form was only signed as received in branch over two months after the dates beside the signatures ( which i believe to be forged). I would have thought that attendance in branch should have been required. I would also have expected a bank they had used for many many years should have been able to spot a very badly forged signature.
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    To be honest, I'm not sure how often anyone actually looks at signatures, and if they do it's more 'is it signed?' than 'how does this signature compare with the original we have on file?'


    Signature removed for peace of mind
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