“I Call It Stealing” – Pensioner Shock At Bank Savings Grab

22 May

From the Herald Sun (h/t reader Richo):

 Adrian Duffy emerged from a quintuple heart bypass only to find his wife's $20,000 Suncorp account empty because the bank gave it to the government. PIC: David Kelly Source: The Courier-Mail

Adrian Duffy emerged from a quintuple heart bypass only to find his wife’s $20,000 Suncorp account empty because the bank gave it to the government. PIC: David Kelly Source: The Courier-Mail

A QUEENSLAND pensioner emerged from a quintuple heart bypass only to find his bank had emptied his account, handing more than $22,000 to the Federal Government.

Legislative changes rushed through Parliament late last year mean money can now be identified as “unclaimed” after an account has been inactive for more than three years, instead of seven years.

Banks have already begun searching for inactive accounts that fit the new definition and transferring the cash to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, as required. ASIC then passes the money to the Commonwealth of Australia Consolidated Revenue Fund.

This scheme is not dissimilar to the government’s new Small Business Superannuation Clearing House system. A (for now) optional system, news of which was broken right here on BiR*, where employers are now being “encouraged” to send all their employees’ SGC Superannuation payments, along with their company BAS payments, direct to the A.T.O., and not direct to the employees’ super fund. In effect, the government is trying to use employers, and now ASIC, to do its dirty work; enabling the government to earn extra usury by diverting millions / billions in citizens’ superannuation via the ATO, on the way (hopefully) to their super fund; or, in the case of “unclaimed” bank accounts, using the banks to steal citizens’ money outright.

The Australian Bankers’ Association has accused the Government of putting its “own financial circumstances” ahead of customers’ needs, leaving them facing “months of delays trying to reclaim their own money”.

Er … the ABA would say these things, wouldn’t they; the banks can hardly be thrilled at having the government confiscate those “unclaimed” bank savings, four years earlier than was their previous practice. I wonder how much in the way of additional earnings (usury) the banks expect to lose out on as a result of the government’s greed overriding their own?

ASIC says the money can be claimed “at any time by the rightful owner”, but banks have pointed out the process can take as long as six weeks.

Toowong resident Adrian Duffy is now looking at a lengthy battle to have his savings restored.

The 75-year-old spent 21 days in hospital following quintuple heart bypass surgery and a second operation in April.

When he and his wife, 57-year-old Mary-Jane, went to check their Suncorp account, they discovered their balance had plummeted from $22,616 to zero. A note on the May 1 entry read: “Closing WDL Govt unclaimed monies.”

The couple had saved for 14 years in preparation for major health-related costs.

Suncorp claims a letter was sent at the end of March notifying the account – held in Mrs Duffy’s name – had been inactive for more than three years and would be closed if no action was taken.

It says attempts were made to call the couple on April 16, followed by an “account closed” letter on April 30.

Mr and Mrs Duffy are adamant they received no warnings of the closure of the account.

“I called it stealing,” Mr Duffy said.

“My understanding of the definition of stealing is to take something without somebody’s knowledge and not tell them. As far as I’m concerned, that’s exactly what happened – (the Government) took it without telling us.”

The couple are working to recover the money, but say they were lucky to have other savings.

“If we didn’t have the money elsewhere, we would now have to be paying for cardiologists, visits to surgeons, ECGs, x-rays, whatever is involved in the follow up,” he said.

“We would have to find money to pay them, because those people aren’t going to say to you, ‘we’ll wait six weeks’.”

While many people believe they have until May 31 to act on their dormant accounts, banks in fact must finalise their lodgements by that date.

A Treasury spokesman said the reforms were designed to “help reunite Australians with their lost money sooner, and protect them from being eroded by fees, charges and inflation”.

Oh?

To “help” “reunite” Australians with their “lost” money sooner?

So, that is what this “reform” is really all about.

Hello George Orwell.

As I have warned for years, look around the globe at what governments have been doing in other nations since 2008, and expect ever more of these kinds of creeping, sneaky government schemes. All designed to steal your money, under the smokescreen of “reform”, or “helping” someone.

* See also: It Has Begun – Labor Steals Liberal’s Idea To Steal Your Super

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11 Responses to ““I Call It Stealing” – Pensioner Shock At Bank Savings Grab”

  1. mick May 22, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Come on, lets not guild the lily.

    What the government is doing is looking for money so understandable. What is not good is that we all feel threatened.

    What you need to take account of is that:

    1. The money can be recovered. It is not gone once it is ‘confiscated’.
    2. The owners would have received notification from the financial institution as it is in the institution’s own interests that the funds remain with then, not the government.

    This is more of a beat up story but I also do not agree with he legislation. So where was one Tony Abbott in all of this? We here Abbott’s opposition to everything else don’t we?

    The one area which should have been hit is the unclaimed superannuation which is never claimed. Having said that there needed to be GENUINE attempts to find the rightful owners. It wouldn’t be too difficult to track most people down IF SUPERANNUATION COMPANIES OR THE GOVERNMENT WANTED TO. So probably nothing more than a grab for cash.

    • The Blissful Ignoramus May 22, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      “This is more of a beat up story but I also do not agree with he legislation”

      My sentiments exactly. You’re right Mick, no question. It is a beat up. But nonetheless, setting the rah rah rah aspect aside, the legislation is wrong, and pernicious.

      • Paul May 22, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

        Its just a beat up, and yet you don’t like the legislation. The legislation is the cause of the “beat-up”. Its now happened once. How many more times before it stops being a beat-up and becomes an ugly new reality?

        • The Blissful Ignoramus May 22, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

          Er … you’re right. And that is essentially what I said. As implied by the “But nonetheless” comment.

          Let me explain again – the style and tone of the reporting are those of a “beat up”, BUT, it is a story that NONETHELESS is grounded in a real problem – bad legislation.

      • Charlie July 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

        you call it a beat-up….no-one contacted me before taking over $120,000 out of a charity cash management account that I look after…No phone call, no signature. It simply disappeared over 6 months ago and i was not informed until a leach who wanted $7000 to get it back for me sent me a letter.

        • The Blissful Ignoramus July 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

          “you call it a beat-up…”

          Please note above that I clarified my comment (to Mick) as follows, “Let me explain again – the style and tone of the reporting are those of a “beat up”, BUT, it is a story that NONETHELESS is grounded in a real problem – bad legislation.”

          Charlie, I am sincerely sorry that you have been impacted by this bad legislation. If you wish, I would be more than happy to publicise your story as best I can; that is, if you would care to provide more detailed information (eg, which bank, etc).

    • Richo May 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      Yes the money can be recovered but as stated in the article it can take 6 weeks to get it back. What’s this bloke supposed to do in the meantime while the bureacrats dick aorund with their paperwork?

  2. bushbunny May 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    How the hell can they do this? This government must go. For heavens sake people vote this ALP/Greens out. Northern Tablelands is going to the polls this Saturday, and we have Adam Marshall, but people are voting for Independents and Greens because they think they will be better. Don’t they know their preferences will go to the labor candidate Herman. The only one guaranteed to pref Adam is possibly Bill Bush a late contender Independent and the Christian Democrats candidate. Fred Niles fiancee.

  3. Charlie July 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    I have just discovered that an account I am trustee for has been emptied of over $120,000 by the federal labour government, in january this year…the statements only come twice a year and I mislaid the february one so did not see that the money had been stolen until yesterday! The trust I look after is a charity which looks after a church. How low and how wrong can the federal government get? Basically, federal labour plus Katter, Windsor, Bandt and Oakeshot voted it through late one night. Good on Wilkie for voting against it.
    I will get it back- but when can it ever be OK to simply take money out of an account without signature and verbal permission?
    I`m gobsmacked….they are a disgrace. A pox on the lot of them.

    • The Blissful Ignoramus July 11, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      “they are a disgrace. A pox on the lot of them”

      For what it’s worth Charlie, I share that sentiment.

  4. bushbunny July 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Why and how did they take it Charlie. Can’t you get a solicitor or accountant onto it.

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