The former clients of Earl Jones are seeking the right to sue the Royal Bank of Canada for allegedly allowing the disgraced Montreal financial adviser to blow through their savings.
A statement of claim was filed in Quebec Superior Court late February 5 against the financial institution alleging a Montreal-area branch was aware of the irregularities in Jones’ accounts, but did nothing.
Jones pleaded guilty last month to orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme spanning more than 20 years.
The victims are seeking the authorization of a Quebec judge for the class action suit, which claims millions of dollars invested by former clients went through an “in-trust” account that in fact was a personal bank account belonging to Jones.
The claim says “The petitioner submits that Earl Jones could not and would not have been able to carry out a Ponzi scheme to the detriment of the members of the Class were it not for the negligence and willful blindness of the Royal Bank.
None of the claims against the Royal Bank have been proven in court.
The legal documents allege that Jones enjoyed a privileged status at the bank because of his standing in the community and as such the transactions weren’t properly vetted. It also alleges that the bank knew as early as 2001 that the account was being used for business purposes and that the “in-trust” status had no meaning.
The civil claim asserts that nothing was done until 2008 when a bank manager again noted certain irregularities in Jones’ account.