You have a brother who is your mom’s Power of Attorney, and has been for years. Now that mom has advanced dementia, you’ve noticed signs of financial abuse on the part of your sibling. After doing some background checking, you discover that there’s over $150,000 missing from mom’s bank account. You’ve gone to the police however they have refused to investigate the matter telling you this is a civil matter, and you should see a lawyer. Their response is not sitting right, but what do you do?
This is a standard response from police agencies across the country, if not the world, but there is a way to convince the police to accept your case. It takes work on your part, but in the end, it’s almost a sure thing you’re sibling will be criminally investigated. Read on.
The word fraud terrifies most police officers. They have no idea what it is exactly, nor do they know what to do with such a complaint. A fraud is really just a theft, however the suspect used lies or false promises to get the victim to part with their money. That’s a simple as it gets…a fraud is a theft, but a word of advice…do not EVER use the word fraud when talking to the police. The word you use is THEFT. Police know theft. So with this in mind, you are going to follow my lead, and write a proper police theft report that WILL be accepted by the police.
A point to understand…the young officer sitting at the front desk of the police station is probably a rookie, knows nothing about fraud (hence the use of the word Theft), and does not want to be there. He/she did not become a police officer to sit at the front desk and take reports.
Yours will be different.
Look at the argument regarding “it’s civil” from the police officers point of view. A POA is a legal agreement between two people, one gives the other permission take take care of their financial needs when either they ask for assistance, or are no longer able to take care of their financial transactions themselves. The police officers assume that because a lawyer was involved, and the agreement is a civil one, any deviation from the original agreement is therefore a civil matter.
What about something like this though?
You advertise your car for sale online, and one evening a fellow shows up to take it for a test drive. You give him the keys, and he takes it for drive. You wait and wait but he doesn’t return. It becomes obvious he has stolen your car. You phone the police, they arrive and take your report, then begin looking for your car. If it’s located being driven, the car is stopped and the driver arrested for Theft Over $5000 (if your car is worth that).
So what’s the difference between the two incidents?
You agreed to give your car to the guy to test drive, a civil agreement, then you gave him your keys, and wilfully allowed him to drive away, again, all civil actions. Why are the police involved if, when you wanted to report the theft of $150,000 stolen from your mom’s account by your brother who holds POA do they tell you it’s civil?
Here’s the thing…
IT’S NOT CIVIL
A theft is a theft regardless of the property that has been stolen.
If you hear the words, “It’s criminal,” remember that example and lay it on the officer pressing for an explanation. You won’t get one. Don’t be intimidated or dissuaded. Your case is not a civil matter. The police must investigate as that is what their job is.
After you’ve completed all of the 5 steps below, you will have a complete, and proper police report, one that follows most police agencies Occurrence Report Form.
Place everything into a brown envelope, and walk into the police station. Place it on the desk in front of the young constable and explain that you are…
-reporting a THEFT OVER $5000
-you have written the report
-gathered all the evidence
-and identified all the people involved
All you require is an occurrence number (police report number) from him/her to refer to once the file is forwarded to the appropriate investigation unit.
Ask that he/she forward your file to the right unit.
Once you have that number, leave. There’s no need for any further conversation. Your file has been accepted and will be passed along.
Without further ado, let’s get this circus started.
LIST OF THOSE INVOLVED
List every person, institution, bank, agency or company involved in the case. There are four different headings that these entities will be called depending on their involvement…
Each entity is listed in this manner…
DOE, Jane. SMITH, Anne
123 Sesame St. 4567 Big Bird Road
Toronto, Ont. London, Ont
TD Bank JONES, Robert
6789 Woods Ave. 6789 Woods Ave
Toronto, Ont. Toronto, Ont
1(416)000-1234 1(416)000-1234 x723
List everyone who is involved in the case including care homes, care home supervisors, siblings, banks, bank manager, anyone who heard something or witnessed something. Be sure to do your best to provide as full as description as possible such as DOB (Date of Birth), address and phone number.
You want to make it as easy as possible for the police to say yes to your file. The less work they have to do, the better the odds they’ll take a look at your case.
This is a one paragraph summary where you state Who, What, Where, When and How. The easiest way to write this summary is to look at the criminal charge in the back of the Canadian Criminal Code. There’s a section back there called JAIN. It contains the proper wording for each criminal charge. That’s what you will need…the proper wording.
“Jane Doe did commit, Theft Over $5000 contrary to section 322/334a of the criminal code of Canada between August 1st, 2001 and January 25th, 2019 by stealing $150,000.00 in cash from the TD Bank account of Wilma Beckett without her permission or knowledge. I wish this matter to be investigated and criminal charges be laid.”
That’s it. You can find the JAIN wording on Google, or pop down to the library and look at the back of the criminal code. It’s all there.
Here is where you list each document you got your hands on. This will take a bit of homework depending what evidence you have collected.
I’m talking about monthly bank statements, cancelled cheque’s, documents you may have found at mom’s, conversations you may have made notes about etc.
At the bottom right hand corner of each page, write a small “Alpha-numeric” number on each document. You will refer to this number in your story next.
Let’s say you have a years worth of TD Banking statements on mom’s account. Each month contains two pages (both sides so 4 pages in total). The first months statements will be identified as A1 on the front page, the second page on the other side of page 1 will then be A2, next A3, and then A4.
The next month will be A5, A6, A7 and A8. Every month after will be A? for the 12 months.
The key is to keep like documents together as though they were in a separate folder.
Next you may have ten cancelled cheque’s. They will follow the order of the bank statements with B1, B2, B3…
Then you may have documents from a realtor showing Jane Doe, the suspect, bought a cottage. Those documents would be identified as C1, C2 etc…
Keep like documents, or documents that run in a line together in the same alpha-numeric sequence.
Once you have all your pieces of documentary evidence catalogued, you will include their alpha-numeric number in brackets in your story…
”May, 3rd, 2005
Jane Doe issued cheque number 1403 from the TD Bank account number 123456789, the personal chequing account of Wilma Beckett, to herself in the amount of $4000.00 (D3)…”
Now the fun begins, the details of what happened. Begin at the beginning, the very beginning with a brief summary of the relationship between the victim and the suspect.
Everything is done in point form based on the date as follows…
May 1, 2001
-Wilma Beckett (Victim) is taken by her daughter, Jane Doe (suspect) to see lawyer, Richard Billup (Witness), to have a Power of Attorney contract written up and signed. (F4)
May 2, 2002
-Jane Doe presents TD Bank manager, Robert Jones, of TD Bank located at 6789 Woods Ave, Toronto, Ont., with a POA document dated May 1, 2001 (F4)
Start at the earliest date the crime began, and work forward to the present from there. Take the attitude that nothing can be assumed by the investigator. When you identify an entity, state the name of the place, and the address where it’s located to prevent confusion in the event there are other branches of the same company located through the city (see above TD Bank)
Always cross reference any documents by identifying their alpha-numeric designation (B2) etc. In this way, the detective can quickly flip back and forth between your story and the evidence.
INVESTIGATIVE ACTIONS REQUIRED
This is the last section of your report. This is where you point out what is needed to be done by the police in order to conclude the file.
You state your concerns, and offer suggestions where the answers may be located.
When you identify areas of concern, or the things that require further police investigation, state the date you had listed in your “Details section of what you are talking about.
August 14, 2011
-The original cheque mentioned on this date needs to be obtained from the bank as it is missing.
That’s it. Yes, it is a lot of work, however if you go the civil route as the officer had originally suggested, the amount if work you do is minimal however the amount of money you spend will be enormous.
Lawyers cost money
Police are free