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PHOENIX: Liz and Roger

Thank you for following the Phoenix Campaign by ADVAS. This week, on our Facebook and Instagram pages, we met Liz and Roger.

After almost 50 years, he finally retired.

Liz and Roger have been married for forty years, and Roger was (finally) retiring from a successful career.

They raised their children in Southern Alberta, and their home and lives here. Roger even won a battle with cancer here just a few years earlier.

That said, there was no shortage of excitement when they had the chance to leave Alberta for an extended trip to Europe.

Strange phone messages and letters started arriving.

After spending almost six months traveling across Europe, Liz and Roger returned home to Southern Alberta. They had someone watching over their home while they were away, and nothing seemed out of place when they walked through the front door.

Shortly after coming home, though, Roger received a phone call and a letter from people claiming to be with his bank. Believing that this could be a scam, Roger initially discounted the call.

Roger was right to not give any information out when he received the first phone call. It is wise to not share information with people who call you. However, a quick way to resolve any issues is to ask the caller for a reference number and then call the main number of the organization trying to reach you – whether that be a bank, Canada Revenue Agency, or another business.

He said there was an error at the bank with an investment.

Wanting to find out more about the phone calls and letters, Roger confronted his son who was watching over the house while Roger and Liz were away.

“He told me that it was all a misunderstanding. There was an error at the bank with a form, and he was working directly with the manager to resolve it.”

Their son told Liz and Roger that he had tried to resolve everything before they made it home, and they shouldn’t get involved or worry about it. He assured them that all would be set straight within days.

It is good practice to check your accounts regularly and to ask questions anytime something is not exactly as you expected it to be.

The bank manager was somber. Roger was going to burst.

Not convinced that their son had the authority or the knowledge to repair whatever error had occurred with their investment accounts, Liz and Roger went to the bank the next morning to meet with the bank manager.

The bank manager reminded the couple that their son was granted access to all of their accounts while Roger was being treated for cancer.

Liz and Roger were shown statements for empty accounts and a mortgage application on their property.

Having worked his entire life, Roger was now in debt and at risk of losing his home.

The couple got help from the RCMP and ADVAS that afternoon.

Financial crimes can devastate victims and communities. If you have been the victim of a fraud or financial crime, help is available.

If we can’t walk away, neither can he.

Liz and Roger, with the help of the RCMP, ADVAS, and the bank manager, pursued criminal charges against their son for financial crimes. A heartbreaking decision, for sure, but one that allowed them to feel as though they had taken appropriate action. “I never let him off when he was growing, not going to now. When you’re a kid, the punishment fits what you did – should be no different if you’re old enough to know better.”

The couple had help from ADVAS to navigate complex financial and criminal justice systems, and to connect with services that would help their healing. Both Liz and Roger were experiencing poor health because of the crime, and with help they were able to access the help they needed.

Their case took a long time to resolve, and in many ways – for them – it will never be fully resolved. “You can walk back, but you can never go all the way back.”

Financial crimes can be hard to spot, hard to understand, and hard to manage. You should not have to manage this risk alone. Ask for advice from outside professionals, or if you believe a crime has been committed call law enforcement.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of fraud or financial crimes, help is just a call or click away.