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Judge orders Ont. man to repay bank $90,000 overpaid in error, plus interest

TORONTO – An Ontario Superior Court Justice has ordered a Port Perry, Ont., man to repay the Toronto-Dominion Bank $90,000 in cash given to him in error by a Stouffville, Ont., branch five years ago.

Two low-ranking bank employees were later fired because of the mistake, made after William Zaparanuik came on Oct. 18, 2005 to pick up a pre-arranged $10,000 he wanted to pay for a used truck.

Staff quickly noticed they had given Zaparanuik $100,000 _ 10 bundles of $100 bills stuffed in a black bag _ $90,000 more than he came for.

But, by that time the sheet metal contractor had left.

The branch’s manager, William McKinney, and a teller drove to Zaparanuik’s work site and asked for the money back.

But he refused, claiming he only received $10,000.

The bank sued.

The branch manager testified that when he arrived at Zaparanuik’s work site, the contractor told him that if he was paid too much money, it was the bank’s fault.

“Mr. McKinney told the defendant that that was not how it worked, and that the defendant would be responsible for the extra money,” wrote Justice Peter Lauwers.

Zaparanuik denied any such conversation took place, testifying that the bank manager was not specific about the problem.

The judge did not believe Zaparanuik.

“His first response, that it was the bank’s mistake and the bank’s fault, shows how Mr. Zaparanuik decided to play the situation,” the judge wrote.

“He made the wrong choice.”

The contractor knew he had been paid $100,000 in error, Lauwers ruled. “He saw it as an opportunity.”

n honest person would have produced all the evidence for the bank immediately, Lauwers wrote. “Instead, he disposed of or destroyed that evidence.”

Lauwers granted Toronto-Dominion Bank $90,000, plus interest.

Acting on the bank’s complaint, police charged him with theft over $5,000, but the Crown later withdrew the charge. It cost him $25,774.85 in legal fees to defend the criminal charge.

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