CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A 29-year-old man who defrauded TD Bank clients of more than $251,000 while he was an employee was sentenced Tuesday to six months in jail.
Vivek Vishisht appeared before Judge John Douglas in provincial court in Charlottetown for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to fraud.
Vishisht was a bank teller at the TD Bank on Queen Street in Charlottetown for almost a year when a forensic audit found he defrauded 16 customers by transferring money from their accounts into his own over a three-month period.
The court heard that of those clients, 12 were elderly and four were deceased.
Vishisht also drew bank drafts made payable to himself from two fictitious accounts he opened.
The total amount of the fraud was $251,535.80.
Crown attorney Lisa Goulden said the fraud came to light after an elderly customer talked to the branch manager about concerns that he hadn’t received his bank statement.
The manager reviewed the records with the customer who noticed $5,000 was missing from his account.
Goulden said the manager determined Vishisht conducted the transaction.
Vishisht later told the manager he fixed the mistake, but further review determined the accused had taken $5,000 from a different account to pay what was missing.
Goulden said the bank reimbursed all of the customers and sued Vishisht to recover what he took.
TD Bank seized several of Vishisht’s bank accounts for a total of $130,000 and a 2018 Audi car he bought for $84,059.82.
Goulden said Vishisht told the writer of a pre-sentence report that he kept the money in case he needed it and he wanted to make a good life for himself.
“That’s greed,” Goulden said.
Vishisht, who is from India and has been living in P.E.I. since 2016, has his permanent residency, which became an issue during the sentencing.
The court heard Vishisht may be deported because of his conviction, but he would have the ability to appeal a deportation order with a sentence of six months in jail or less.
Defence lawyer Isaac Quinn told the court Vishisht grew up “extremely poor” and came to Canada to make a better life for himself, but that was now in jeopardy.
Quinn disagreed that greed was the motive and he referred to the pre-sentence report that said Vishisht took the money to help his family, which was in dire financial straits.
Before hearing his sentence, Vishisht addressed the court to say he was ashamed of what he did.
“I just want to say sorry,” he said.
In sentencing Vishisht, Douglas said the immigration issue was of “utmost concern” in his case and the consequences should be considered.
Along with the jail time, Vishisht will be on probation two years, during which he must remain in his residence for the six months, unless he has permission from his probation officer to leave.
Vishisht must perform 60 hours of community service and write an apology letter to the bank.
He is also banned from the TD Bank branch where he worked.