Protest action has taken place outside Westpac in Invercargill on Friday after the bank’s financial offer to the victims of an alleged cheque fraud was deemed inadequate.
More than $55,000 was allegedly stolen from a meatworkers union “shed fund” expense account at the Blue Sky Meats processing plant over a seven year period.
The shed fund committee team has been seeking reparation from Westpac for the lost funds.
Why not seek it from the person who stole the money?
I presume he is or was a union official.
Money was paid into the shed fund account by union members at the meatworks plant and it was meant to be spent on expenses incurred by onsite union officials in the course of their union duties.
However, allegations surfaced that cheques were drawn for personal use on at least 500 occasions between 2007 and 2015.
Eddie Wood, who works at Blue Sky Meats and has been chairman of its unionised shed fund committee since 2015, says the bank’s offer to settle the dispute was too low.
He believes the bank should have had procedures in place to detect the “unsophististicated” fraud.
Westpac had accepted more than 500 cheques totalling more than $55,000 which he claims were either forged or only had one signature on them instead of the required two signatures, he said.
Banks basically never check signatures on checks unless over a certain level. If the cheques were an average $100 each then no way they would get checked.
If the union had detected the offending early on, then I suspect the bank would compensate. But if you don’t detect the fraud for seven years, can’t really expect the bank to be liable. The union should have accounts and an auditor which would pick this up.