RBC failing Montreal Ponzi victims, protesters say

Two years after the Earl Jones financial fraud was uncovered, more than 100 people gather in Montreal to protest what they describe as Royal Bank of Canada's intransigence in their class action case.

Former clients of fraudster Earl Jones say bank hasn't done enough to help

More than 100 people gathered outside a Royal Bank of Canada branch on Saturday to pressure the bank to do more to help victims of former Montreal financial adviser Earl Jones. (Raffy Boudjikanian/CBC)

Two years after the Earl Jones financial fraud was uncovered, more than 100 people gathered in Montreal on Saturday to protest what they describe as Royal Bank of Canada's intransigence in their class action case.

The protesters at a Royal Bank branch in Montreal's West Island held signs saying "don't write us off" and "RBC knew and did nothing."

Last July, a Quebec judge certified a class action lawsuit against the Royal Bank of Canada launched by Jones's victims.

One protester told Radio-Canada that Saturday's rally was organized to put pressure on the bank to do more to help the victims.

The bank has offered victims a $12.5-million settlement but the protesters said victims will continue to seek the $40 million outlined in their lawsuit.

The suit before the Superior Court of Quebec alleges RBC's Beaconsfield branch, where Jones conducted most of his business, was aware that Jones was exploiting his personal account for his financial dealings.

He deposited cheques with double endorsements and forged signatures.

Jones, right, pleaded guilty in January 2010 to two counts of fraud totalling roughly $50 million. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)
Jones pleaded guilty to fraud in January 2010.

The former Montreal financial adviser is serving 11 years in jail for fraud after he bilked his onetime clients out of an estimated $50 million over a decade. The scheme he was operating was revealed during the summer of 2009.

The suit's petitioner is Virginia Nelles, whose brother and mother lost almost $1 million after investing it with Jones.

Several victims lost their life savings and have never reclaimed any of their money. Some victims lost their homes.

Last year, an RBC spokesperson said the bank was also a victim of the scam.

"We were deceived by Earl Jones just as his clients were," Gillian McArdle said. "Until 2009, there was nothing to signal that Mr. Jones was anything but a legitimate and a successful businessman."