Robert Riley Saunders is a former B.C. social worker who is accused of opening joint bank accounts with children in his care, then stealing the money.
In Supreme Court, the provincial government has admitted vicarious liability in this case. However, there’s another defendant involved, and Interior Savings Credit Union has filed its civil claim response.
According to court documents filed by the victims, the credit union knew, or should have known, that Saunders moved the money from a joint account to his own account, then used the funds for himself.
But Interior Savings said in its response that Saunders made false and misleading statements to staff. In its defence, Interior Savings stated:
“Interior Savings Credit Union had no knowledge of, and was never in a position to have knowledge of, the fact that the defendant Saunders intended to use the account for reasons other than to permit the plaintiff to have access to funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development.”
The credit union also said “the plaintiff expressly agreed under the contract that Interior Savings is not responsible for any loss or damage suffered or incurred by her, except as limited under the contract,” and “the plaintiff expressly agreed under the contract that she assumed all risk of loss due to the use of the account, except as limited under the contract.”
The credit union is asking the court to dismiss the claim against it.
According to court documents, the ministry became suspicious of Saunders in December 2017, and he was suspended when he returned from vacation in January.
The province then conducted a forensic audit and says it turned the case over to RCMP when the auditor confirmed Saunders had committed fraud.
Police have been investigating the case since March, but criminal charges have not yet been laid. Saunders has not filed a response to the civil suits against him and none of the allegations have been proven in court.