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Bank Fraud Affects Retirees

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This is the English translation of an article published  on the website “Infobae”. A link to the original article is here.

Bank Fraud takes 40 million USD from retirees in San Miguel de Allende

One of the victims of the fraud, mostly retired, believes that the bank’s managers should have been aware of the irregular activity in the accounts because they moved, at least, 40 million dollars

San Miguel de Allende is a city in Mexico recognized worldwide for its colonial architecture, cultural festivals and the parish of San Miguel Arcángel. But it is also one of the preferred places for foreign retirees to live, who recently became victims of bank fraud by Grupo Financiero Monex.

The fraud was revealed by the Bloomberg agency . The Mexican bank Monex received 49 complaints from clients, mostly expatriates of American, Canadian, Australian, English and other European nationalities. Among those affected were also Mexicans.

Monex reported last May that it had resolved 70% of the complaints and that it continued working to resolve all cases. Bloomberg estimated that the fraud amounted to USD 40 million with 158 affected accounts , mainly of retired people.

In San Miguel de Allende, 10% of its population are foreigners

But the solution that the bank has given the elderly with less funds is to give back half or less of the money they had , an agreement they are forced to accept because their family’s financial support is minimal.

One of those affected is Arvin Kagan, who told the English news website in English News Daily that Monex took advantage of the profile of the people who live in San Miguel de Allende to carry out the fraud. Kagan has lived in that city for more than two decades.

Another affected is an 83-year-old philanthropist from Kansas City, United States, who for more than 10 years has been part of the board of the Community Foundation of San Miguel de Allende , Howard Haynes.

Haynes used his Monex accounts mainly for his charitable donations and philanthropic scholarships. The money he had in that bank was moved from one account to another, without his approval , to people he does not even know.

Most of the victims interviewed by Justin Vallejo asked that their testimony be anonymous for fear of reprisals by Monex. Heynes decided to talk about the scam and said he firmly believed that the executives of the financial group were aware of what was happening “because it is unlikely that a single person would take the plan and cover it without help from anyone.

Marcela Zavala Taylor is the only one blamed so far for the irregular activity reported by the victims. Monex informed that in December of 2018 its labor relation with the promoter ended and in January a judicial process against it began.

Apparently the fraudulent operations were done for 10 years . They extracted funds from one account to cover the embezzlement of another. Marcela Zavala Taylor is the daughter of Manuel Zavala, former mayor of San Miguel de Allende from 1988 to 1991, and Peggy Taylor, Christies real estate agent.

The victims believe that the bank’s executives knew about the fraud because a single person can not cover the irregular movement of so many accounts

There is also a controversy about the estimated number of stolen funds. Monex said in a brief statement that the total sum was less than calculated by Bloomberg . Victims question this claim because only the accounts of some owners approach the USD 40 million claimed.

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