Cautionary tale about cashing COVID relief cheques for others

CORNWALL – A local woman’s ordeal with a bank around COVID-19 relief cheques has highlighted why you shouldn’t cash them for others.

Fiona Orr claims she hasn’t been able to access $5,000 in her bank account for seven months because Toronto-Dominion Bank put a freeze on the funds.

“They’ve been withholding my $5,000 since last July (2020), and I’m very upset about it and there’s no reason to and it’s only because I deposited three COVID cheques and gave the people the money,” Orr told Cornwall Newswatch.

Orr says the cheques were for her brother-in-law, son and a friend. “Two people went into the bank and showed them who they were and showed them that I wasn’t frauding (sic). Didn’t matter, they wouldn’t release that money for me.”

Orr claims she used $5,000 of her own money from another account to give the three people the amount they were expecting to receive. Two cheques were for $2,000 each and a third was for $1,000, she explained.

When contacted by CNW, TD Bank said it’s working to correct the money hold.

“We apologize for the delay that the customer has experienced and will contact them again to provide options to resolve the issue,” public affairs spokesman Ian McColl said.

The bank “may not accept a (third-party) cheque,” which is outlined in the account agreement, McColl explained.

“It’s worth noting that non-customers can cash cheques from the federal government (e.g., CERB) up to a certain amount at TD provided they visit a branch in person with valid identification,” he said.