The widow of the late Saipan mayor Donald Glenn P. Flores has filed a $40-million lawsuit for fraud over a bank managers’ alleged unauthorized release of Flores’ money from his $200,000 time certificate of deposit to a person misrepresenting him.
Cecilia U. Flores, through former judge Juan T. Lizama, is suing Union Bank of California and its former employees, Victoria Borja Concepcion and Ken Kato.
Cecilia Flores is demanding $20 million in damages from Union Bank and $20 million in damages from Concepcion and Kato, on top of court costs and attorney’s fees.
Donald Flores passed away in June 2014.
According to the lawsuit, Cecilia Flores recalled her husband, Donald Flores, walked into the Union Bank Oleai Branch with the intention of cashing a check from a land transaction, in the amount of $280,000.
Of the total amount of the check, she said Donald told bank officer Lourdes Salas Deleon Guerrero to take out $80,000 in cash and use the $200,000 to open a certificate of deposit in his name.
Donald then obtained a certificate of deposit, or CD, issued by the bank and signed by Deleon Guerrero.
Cecilia Flores said when they left the bank, her husband handed her the CD for safekeeping.
The couple then went to California because of Mrs. Flores’ kidney illness. The couple returned to Saipan in 1998.
That same year, the couple went to Union Bank to check on the CD, but Deleon Guerrero told Donald that there’s no record about his CD and asked him to instead bring his CD certificate.
Cecilia Flores said she, however, could not remember where she kept the CD in their house.
In May 2001, First Hawaiian Bank took over Union Bank Saipan.
Cecilia Flores then found the CD inside one of the family collection of books in March 2008.
The couple contacted FHB for an appointment to see Concepcion, who was one of the Union Bank employees whose employment continued with FHB.
Lizama said after the couple showed the original copy of the CD, Concepcion checked the bank’s record and later told them the bank did not have a record of such CD.
Lizama said Concepcion tried to comfort the couple by suggesting that she would look again through the boxes of the bank records and that she would call them in a few days.
To their dismay, Concepcion did not call back. After a week, the couple went back to the bank and Concepcion told them to instead contact Union Bank in California.
Lizama said FHB has denied that the CD was transferred by Union Bank to FHB.
In 2011, Donald, through counsel, wrote again a letter to FHB, but the bank denied the transfer of the CD.
Lizama said Kato was the manager of Union Bank when Donald purchased the CD in 1993 and was still the manager of the bank in February 1998 when Donald was told that his CD record could not be found.
Lizama said Kato was employed by FHB in March 2008 when Cecilia Flores found the original CD.
Lizama said that, according to Concepcion in her deposition on April 11, 2013, someone had made a phone call to her at Union Bank identifying himself to be Donald Flores. Concepcion said the person instructed her to cash Donald’s CD and then she closed the amount.
Lizama said Concepcion admitted she sent the money to the caller either through mail or through transfer to Donald’s account at Union Bank.
Lizama said Donald was not the person who called, and not the person who received the money, nor was the money transferred to his account.
Lizama said as a result of Concepcion’s intentional concealment, Mrs. Flores suffered loss of her one-half share of the CD in the amount of $100,000, plus accrued interest.
Lizama said because of Union Bank’s refusal to pay her husband the $200,000 and the interest earned, the couple was forced to quitclaim their home in As Lito to the Commonwealth Development Authority as they became financially unable to make the regular payments to their home mortgage.
“As a result, plaintiff Cecilia Flores is now a month to month tenant at her very own home,” he said.
Lizama disclosed that Kato testified in his deposition that Donald himself took the $200,000 from the CD.
The lawyer said Kato and Concepcion were both employees of Union Bank as general manager and assistant manager, respectively.
Lizama said Kato took Concepcion on her words and joined her in the concealment of the closure of the CD.
Lizama said from 1998 to April 10, 2013, Concepcion and Kato withheld the information of closure of the CD from the Flores couple.
Lizama said because of Kato’s concealment, Mrs. Flores was prevented from calling on the Federal Bureau of Investigation or other agency to investigate who the caller was.
The lawyer said Union Bank should be held vicariously liable for Kato’s fraud.
In 2011, Donald filed a lawsuit in federal court against Union Bank of California and FHB for allegedly refusing to return the principal and interest earned on the CD. This case is now pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.