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Bank Fraud Affects Retirees

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

EmbezzlementHoward Haynes, defrauded retiree, recounts his experience: for 13 years he was deceived by an advisor; he has not been able to recover his money.

Foreigners opened the door of their home and were embezzled.

The story of several foreigners residing in San Miguel de Allende, mostly retired people who were allegedly defrauded by Marcela Zavala at the beginning of the year, have something in common: they all opened the doors of their homes and gave the necessary trust to Zavala , as well as to invest your money in Monex accounts that to date have been emptied in their majority. Among the more than 50 stories of disappointed people, is that of Howard Haynes, a retired native of the city of Kansas City, Missouri and who sought in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato to form a home for peace and tranquility that the city will provide Haynes spoke for the first time before a media outlet about the situation that happened for several years, and it was exclusively before MILENIO that related all the details of how he met the adviser Marcela Zavala in 2004 and how to date his situation financial situation with MONEX has not been resolved.

At that time Howard had an excellent friendship with the then consul of the United States and was years later when he recommended Marcela who was in charge of the representation of MONEX in San Miguel. Howard was offered to bring an executive from Mexico City and another from Queretaro to explain how the investment would work.

“We made a transaction of a significant amount and that account actually I used it simply as an account to grow it without having to withdraw funds or anything like that, a dormant account to put it that way and it worked very well, besides the benefits that granted Monex seemed very good to me, “he shared. 

From his account, he could quickly arrange amounts of money by simply making a phone call to Marcela, his messenger surnamed Tovar delivering the cash at the door of the applicant’s home, a method he said worked well at the beginning. 

Over time, Marcela Zavala became another member of their family by establishing a friendly relationship with her, including making frequent visits to breakfast or in the afternoons to have a snack at Howard’s home. friendship with her beyond the relationship with the bank, “he acknowledged. This technique of attraction of Zavala, not only worked with him, but also with little more than 50 foreigners who were defrauded, because in the beginning he lived daily with them, even giving them gifts as a sign of affection. Years later the offices of MONEX in San Miguel de Allende closed unexpectedly, it was argued that they would move to the existing office in Querétaro, along with the office would also move Marcela. That was when they began to suspect actions that were not clear to the account holders. “I saw Marcela frequently before they closed the office and moved to Querétaro, they kept in touch, came and visited occasionally, the services at Monex did not change because they were still providing us with the same services,” he explained.

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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