07/05/2021 - 13:00

Mercanti family sues Westpac over $3.9m in 'stolen' funds

07/05/2021 - 13:00

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Perth businessman Michael Mercanti, who founded the Mike's Multi Service chain, and his wife Sybil are suing Westpac for allegedly allowing their son Tyrone to withdraw more than $3.9 million from their bank account without consent.

Mercanti family sues Westpac over $3.9m in 'stolen' funds
In a writ filed in the Supreme Court this week, Michael and Sybil Mercanti are claiming damages from Westpac Banking Corporation for allegedly allowing Tyrone, his wife and/or his daughter to sign cheques and transfer funds totaling $3.9 million.

Perth businessman Michael Mercanti, who founded the Mike's Multi Service chain, and his wife Sybil are suing Westpac for allegedly allowing their son Tyrone to withdraw more than $3.9 million from their bank account without consent.

Michael Angelo Mercanti owned the retail repair kiosk, which later became an empire after expanding from its first location in Dianella Plaza to shopping centres across Perth’s metropolitan area during the 1990s.

Their son Tyrone Mercanti was appointed general manager of the business in 1996 before becoming managing director in 2004.

In a writ filed in the Supreme Court this week, Michael and Sybil Mercanti claim damages from Westpac Banking Corporation for allegedly allowing Tyrone, his wife and/or his daughter to sign cheques and transfer funds between 2004 and early 2013 totalling $3.9 million.

According to the writ, Michael and Sybil Mercanti opened a bank account with Westpac in their own names in January 1998 by signing a contract which stipulated that the bank would take all reasonable steps to ensure that any cheque withdrawn on the personal account was signed and not honour any cheque that did not fulfill those requirements.

They allege in their writ that Tyrone Mercanti opened a Westpac credit card for both Michael and Sybil in their names in July 2004, despite neither of them authorising him to do so.

The pair then claim to have stopped using cheques from that cheque book, but that 384 cheques worth $182,458 were drawn on the account.

They allege that none of the cheques bore their signatures and were instead signed by Tyrone, despite him not having the authority to do so.

But Westpac allegedly honoured each of the cheques without warning Michael and Sybil or making enquiries.

In the writ, the pair further allege that the cheques were not paid to them, but were received by Tyrone, his wife, and/or his daughter.

Around the same time, Michael and Sybil Mercanti allege that online banking for the personal account was activated by Westpac without the authorisation of the pair and that, since then, 718 electronic transfer funds have been made by online banking, totalling $3.7 million.

The 35-page court document outlines the date and nature of each of the transactions, which took place over almost a decade from 2004 until early 2013.

Despite acknowledging a claim made by the pair for the reimbursement of the funds paid out in connection with the allegedly unauthorised bank transfers, Westpac has refuted the allegations and has not reimbursed the pair.

Michael and Sybil Mercanti are now seeking damages, interest on those damages and costs.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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