Lorraine Smith and Audra-Ann Bean *File photos by Kageaki Smith
Lorraine Smith and Audra-Ann Bean *File photos by Kageaki Smith

THURSDAY, APRIL 19: Two bank employees told a jury how a grandmother added her granddaughters on to her bank accounts.

Lorraine Smith, 46, and Audra-Ann Bean, 44, are on trial for financially exploiting their 87-year-old grandmother Lenice Tucker and stealing almost half a million dollars from her.

The offences allegedly took place between July 2010 and January 2011.

Ms Smith and Ms Bean deny the charges.

Karimah Moore, a banking specialist at HSBC, told the court the sisters came to the Church Street branch with Ms Tucker on July 20, 2010.

She said they came in to open a new account because you cannot add names to an existing account.

“We don’t add or remove names from accounts.

‘Those accounts would have to be closed and the new account would have to be opened in the names of the new accounts holders.”

Ms Moore said Ms Smith and Ms Bean didn’t contribute anything to the new account.

Explaining the two kinds of accounts one could open, Ms Moore said it could be an ‘and’ account where all parties on the account would have to be present to make a transaction.

Or there could be an ‘and/or’ account where anyone on the account could make transactions whenever.

Crown counsel Garrett Byrne said: “If I want to open an account with another person and I want maximum security, which one would I go for?”

Ms Moore said an 'and' account.

Mr Byrne then asked her if she had seen Ms Tucker by herself at all during the meeting and the witness said no.

The prosecutor then asked if there were any policies in place at the bank on how to deal with seniors.

Ms Moore said: “You watch for certain signs, you look at their demeanor.

“You look at the people they came with to see if they’re forceful or being sweet.”

During cross-examination, Larry Mussenden, lawyer for the sisters, asked Ms Moore if all three parties were engaging with her during the meeting and she said yes.

“I was comfortable opening the account,” she added.

Donna Place, a personal banker at Butterfield Bank, also testified and recalled meeting with Ms Bean, Ms Smith and Ms Tucker in July 2010.

She told the court initially it was just Ms Bean and Ms Tucker in the meeting but Ms Smith came along a few minutes later.

Mr Byrne asked: “Which of them told you what they wanted to do?”

Ms Place said: “Audra-Ann was doing most of the talking.”

Asked about the conversation during the meeting, Ms Place said she couldn’t remember exactly what was said but it was along the lines of Ms Tucker’s sister had passed and Ms Bean was looking to add herself to her grandmother’s account to help with bills.

Ms Place told the court she explained the forms to all three women and said she never saw Ms Tucker by herself during the meeting.

The Crown is expected to close its case tomorrow.