Standard Bank fined £20,000 for ‘intermeddling’
A BANK has been fined £20,000 for operating a deceased client’s bank account to transfer several thousand pounds to pay the expenses of his bereaved partner.
Appearing before the Royal Court yesterday [9/8/19], representatives of Standard Bank Jersey Limited were given two weeks to pay the fine after failing to follow correct procedures following the death of Islander Grahame Anthony Dangerfield, who held three bank accounts with the firm.
His partner Lyn Shiell held a third party authority to operate one of the bank accounts at the time of his death.
This authority should have been rescinded and the account blocked until certain documents were received by the bank – but this was not done.
A bank employee also agreed to continue to pay Ms Shiell’s expenses in the meantime, which eventually came to £9,552.49, including spending on rent and online shopping.
More than £50,000 had been in the account at the time.
Crown Advocate David Hopwood said the bank self-reported the transactions after detecting them.
‘On 7 November 2018, routine internal checks identified that transactions had taken place on the account of a deceased customer,’ he said.
He said that their actions amounted to the crime of ‘intermeddling’ – interfering in the affairs of a deceased person’s estate.
Later that month, Standard Bank reported the matter to the Jersey Financial Services Commission and Attorney-General and locked the account.
Advocate Mathew Cook, defending, offered an apology for Standard Bank’s actions.
‘The situation arose due to unfortunate decisions of a limited number of staff to not follow procedure,’ he said.
He added that the employees had decided to transfer the money to Ms Shiell so she would avoid ‘distress and hardship’
The Lieutenant-Bailiff Anthony Olsen, presiding, said that there were a number of mitigating factors for Standard Bank over the affair.
This included their quick reporting of the error, early guilty plea and decision to enhance their procedures to avoid a repeat incident.
The firm were fined £20,000. Jurats Rozanne Thomas and Joanne Averty were sitting on the case.
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