Thousands of dollars lost as Toronto remittance firm suddenly shuts down
TORONTO – A remittance company suddenly went out of business in January, causing more than 20 families to lose thousands of dollars they tried to send home to loved ones in the Philippines.
Noel Gerry, lawyer for the 25-year-old Mabini Express, told CBC Toronto said the company is in financial trouble, and “third party creditors were able to divert funds intended for customer remittances for their own purposes and without the consent of Mabini Express.”
The statement further said that Mabini Express “deeply regrets” any losses by customers and is “working with its legal and accounting professionals to attempt to remedy the situation.”
Gina Bronola, a minimum-wage caregiver for a 90-year-old man, sent $3,700 to her brother back home so he could open his own business and support his kids. “It’s painful, disappointing, frustrating, upsetting … I don’t know the right word to use because I work hard as a live-in caregiver. To be honest, I work 24/7,” she told CBC.
Edgar Guiao, who works at a Scarborough car dealership, tried to send about $14,000 to his brother in the Philippines in December for Christmas presents and financial support for the family. The money didn’t get there, he said.
Manuel and Norma Gaspar, tried to send $10,000 to a relative whose home was damaged in a typhoon. Their daughter has filed suit in a small claims court for them.
Guiao organized a group to share experiences and told CBC that hundreds of thousands of dollars had been lost, money meant for medical bills, education and as gifts.
A criminal lawyer told CBC that because of a note in fine print in the customer receipt enumerating circumstances in which Mabini Express would not be liable for damages, it would be difficult to legally pursue the firm, unless a lawyer can prove it shut down for fraudulent reasons.
Customers of Mabini Express also complained to York Regional Police, which received more than 20 reports since Jan. 22, and its Financial Crimes Unit has begun an investigation. No charges have yet been filed.
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