Saipan Mayor Donald G. Flores has learned for the first time that an employee of the former Union Bank Saipan branch had authorized the release of his money from his missing $200,000 time certificate of deposit to a person representing to be him.
In a declaration filed in the U.S. District Court for the NMI last week, Flores said he learned from a deposition of former Union Bank employee Victoria Concepcion that a person representing to be him called the bank on the phone and told Concepcion that he was redeeming his TCD.
Flores said that Concepcion authorized the release of the money.
Flores said that, according to Concepcion, the money was either sent to him by wire transfer or deposited in his account in Union Bank.
The mayor said that Concepcion does not remember when this happened.
Flores is suing Union Bank of California and FHB for allegedly refusing to return the principal and interest earned on a $200,000 TCD that he purchased from the then Union Bank Saipan branch in 1993.
The mayor said that based on Concepcion’s deposition, he discovered for the first time that Union Bank had a policy of burning records of deposits seven years after an account is closed.
Flores said that with the exception of his TCD, he and his wife never had an account with Union Bank.
“Neither I nor my wife ever received any wire transfer from Union Bank,” he added.
The mayor said he never called Concepcion or any Union Bank employee on the phone to redeem his TCD.
Flores said that since he was issued the TCD by then Union Bank employee Lourdes Salas Deleon Guerrero, he had been under the impression that he was the only person—as the registered owner of the TCD—who can withdraw the deposited funds by presenting and surrendering the original TCD to the bank that issued it.
“While the TCD did not provide an automatic renewal, I was assured by Ms. Deleon Guerrero that it would be renewed upon successive maturity periods,” he said.
Flores said that ever since he was issued the TCD, he has not received any notice that Union Bank will renew or not renew his TCD, nor did he receive any notice that Union Bank would consider his TCD abandoned or that Union Bank would turn over the TCD to the CNMI government.
He said he never received a notice that the CNMI government is holding his TCD as abandoned property.
Flores said that Deleon Guerrero was the officer in charge at that time for transactions in TCD accounts at the Union Bank Oleai branch on Sept. 10, 1993.
He said he walked into the Union Bank with the intention of cashing a $280,000 check that he had received from a land transaction.
Flores said he instructed Deleon Guerrero to take out $80,000 in cash and the balance of $200,000 to issue a TCD in the same amount in his name.
He told Deleon Guerrero that he was leaving Saipan the following day for an indefinite time due to the sudden illness of his wife.
He said Deleon Guerrero assured him that keeping his money in a TCD was safe and no one but himself could cancel or redeem the TCD, for as long as he was in possession of the original copy of the TCD.
Flores said he was with his wife until her treatment was completed in 1998, except for occasional short trips back to the CNMI.
Flores said on Feb. 10, 1998, he went back to Union Bank and talked to Deleon Guerrero about the TCD. Since he did not have a copy of the original TCD, Deleon Guerrero asked for his Social Security number and then left her desk to search the record. When she returned after 10 minutes, Deleon Guerrero told him that there is no record.
Flores said he continued to search from Feb. 10, 1998, up to sometime in March 2008 when his wife discovered the original TCD.
Flores said he and his wife immediately contacted First Hawaiian Bank and made an appointment with Concepcion that same day. At the time, Union Bank had already been purchased by FHB.
During the period when Flores purchased the TCD and until May 31, 2001, Concepcion was employed in the Union Bank Saipan branch. In March 2008, Concepcion became an employee of FHB.
Flores said they showed Concepcion the original TCD, but to their surprise Concepcion told them that no record was showing in the computer.
After a week, Concepcion told Flores that there was no record of the TCD in the boxes in their storage room.
Flores said that FHB has denied that his TCD was transferred by Union Bank to FHB.
Flores said that in Concepcion’s April 11, 2013, deposition, he found out that Concepcion testified that it was FHB’s policy that records are destroyed seven years after they are closed.