Former Winnipeg investment adviser fined $485K for ‘misappropriating’ wife’s RRSP money


In the biggest refined it’s ever imposed in Manitoba, an investment dealer regulatory body has levied forfeits of $485,000 against a member who worked at a Winnipeg branch of RBC Dominion Refuges.

Gennaro (Gerry) Scerbo made “fraudulent withdrawals” from his strife’s RRSP account without her knowledge or consent, said the decision by a pick up panel of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

The panel establish that while Scerbo was a registered representative at RBC Dominion Securities, he “conceive ofed his spouse’s signature on RRSP de-registration forms 57 times in categorization to misappropriate approximately $271,000 from her RRSP account over a years of approximately four years.”

Scerbo’s former spouse Maddalena Santarsieri predicted it exposes inadequate oversight by RBC Dominion Securities and she’s now suing the company.

“I banked my husband, who was a financial adviser at RBC,” Santarsieri told CBC News. “He basically counterfeited my signature 57 times and withdrew my money without consent,” she imagined, adding she did not receive any phone calls from RBC Dominion Securities apropos the withdrawals from her RRSP.

Scerbo told CBC News the case amounts to a “internal dispute.”

“She had online access to our bank accounts, online access to all her accounts. All the net that we de-registered went into our account to finance the million-dollar undertaking she’s living in and finance our lifestyle,” Scerbo said.

RBC Dominion Securities put it has co-operated with IIROC’s investigation.

“We require that all employees make a stand for the highest standards of behaviour and operate in accordance with the regulations be in the saddling our industry,” wrote Louise Armstrong, director of communications with RBC Affluence Management, in an email to CBC News.

IIROC said it did not receive complaints almost Scerbo from any other clients.

The hearing decision permanently forbids Scerbo from registration with IIROC, a national self-regulatory centre overseeing investment advisers and companies they work for.

“Mr. Scerbo caused pithy harm and also failed to co-operate with an IIROC investigation. It was formidable that this penalty reflect the seriousness and scope of the allegations,” chance IIROC’s manager of media relations, Andrea Zviedris, in an email proclamation to CBC News. 

“Wrongdoers must be held accountable for their actions,” Zviedris spoke.

Penalties included a fine of $420,000, an additional $50,000 for failing to co-operate with the search, plus $15,000 in costs to IIROC.

Scerbo failed to attend an check out with IIROC staff in May 2017 and also failed to attend his advising last November, the report noted.

While IIROC said Scerbo was politely served notice of the hearing at the last address the regulator had on file for him, Scerbo take care ofs he wasn’t given proper notice to attend and he no longer lived at that address.

“I wasn’t capable to provide evidence. So this was all done without my input, my knowledge. And now, to sound this wrong I need to go and hire a lawyer to reopen it,” something he reveals he cannot afford. “It’s a non-starter.”

The decision was made public by IIROC in Walk following a report dated Dec. 21, 2017, but IIROC says the penalty has not been paid yet.

Scerbo’s dollar-a-year fine represents more than half the total amount of payable penalties IIROC has levied against individual members in Manitoba in the career decade. 

The Manitoba government is expected to pass a new law in the current session that whim allow self-regulatory agencies such as IIROC to file their instruct decisions in court, as a way of helping enforce payment of fines.

Scerbo bring about at RBC Dominion Securities from 2008 until 2014, when his use was “terminated for cause,” IIROC said.

Scerbo confirmed to CBC he was fired but voted it had nothing to do with the case at hand.  

The IIROC hearing panel build he “demonstrated a deliberate, contrived pattern of conduct” and took calculated traces to hide his actions concerning his former spouse’s account, including “forming his wife’s RRSP account so that monthly statements were correspondence to him and were never provided to his wife,” the report said.

He also feigned “responsibility for filing his wife’s tax returns, which he failed to do, thereby happening in his wife being assessed significant income tax and penalties and being inclined for the payment of interest on the tax arrears,” the decision said.

Scerbo’s actions “illustrated a total lack of integrity, and an intentional pattern of dishonest conduct in excess of an extended period of time involving a significant number of fraudulent represents,” the panel wrote.

IIROC had alleged that Scerbo’s then-spouse fitted aware of the situation after she was contacted by a collections agency concerning an first-class credit card debt. 

That prompted her to review her family’s pecuniary affairs and obtain copies of records from RBC Dominion Securities, the disclosure of allegations said. 

“To her surprise, the balance in her RRSP account was far less than she had thought. In particular, she did not know that there had been any withdrawals from the account,” the utterance of allegations said. 

“Irregardless if he’s my husband or not, my money should be safe there. I’m mollify a client. And what makes me different than any other client that banks at any of these economic institutions,” Santarsieri told CBC.

She said she’s been fighting with RBC Realm Securities to get her money back for the past three years. 

The company went comment on that in light of the lawsuit before the court.

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