A Canadian man is not happy after American Border agents seized mail he sent to relatives in the United States last year. It was not just an everyday letter, but instead, it actually had $500,000 inside for his family to have.
The Ottawa man, David Saikaley, even sought out the approval and advice of a banker before following through with his decision, which eventually cost him when his money got stuck at the border.
Saikaley and his wife took care of his mother's cousin, Helen Cuccaro, for over a decade, and after her death in 2016, took over as the executors of the will the relative left. She wanted the remainder of her estate to be sent to five remaining relatives living in the American state of Ohio.
Saikaley visited a TD Canada Trust bank in Ottawa after learning that one of the beneficiaries' health was quickly deteriorating. His health was declining and he lacked medical insurance to cover bills related to the treatment of his diabetes, skin cancer, and kidney transplant.
The TD banker told Saikaley that the most effective way for the man to get the money across the border would be to mail over bank drafts.
The Ottawa resident claims that afterwards, he and his wife drove right to FedEx where they paid extra to ship the bank drafts overnight to Ohio. Instead of their money, the relatives received a letter from American CBP (Customs and Border Protection) claiming that the drafts were considered counterfeit and had been detained in Indianapolis.
The CBP state on their website that money must be cleared through Washington first before being sent over into the U.S. if it's more than $10,000.
While Saikaley did admit that he didn't do his own research, he's upset because he trusted the bank to advise him in a safe and legal way. Instead, the money has been held at the border for almost a whole year.
The family is continuing to petition that the money is real and not counterfeit, but their last was denied due to lack of evidence. They've appealed but it could be November before anyone hears the claim.
As for the sick relative, he continues to watch his bills pile up and is left with very few options.
"I have no food. I have no money to buy anything. I have nobody to help me much," he explained to CBC. Currently, he is dependant on daily visits from Meals on Wheels to get by.
While Saikaley may have been on the wrong side of the law, TD should be advising customers with knowledge and not mistakes.