Saturday, July 16, 2005

Revisiting the plumbing cheque

One of the most puzzling aspects of the recent controversy about Grewal's election finance is the plumbing cheque, a scan of which is below (with hat tip yet again to Kate at SDA). Jim Holt (president of Grewal's riding association) wrote this to the CBC reporter about it (again, hat tip to Kate):
This brings us to the Imperial Plumbing cheque in the amount of $1000. Here we must admit we are a bit stumped, not the least due to the fact that the copy of the cheque you forwarded to us doesn't appear to have been endorsed by anyone on the reverse, and the cheque seems to have been cleared at the Khalsa Credit Union the same day it was drawn. Equally baffling is the fact the item was processed at a branch of that credit union about 20 miles from where the cheque was prepared. We are even more baffled by this one, when we examine the date the transaction(s) occurred. Our research indicates that on that date, Mr. Grewal was in Ottawa, and either in his office, or in the House of Commons ("Hansard" can actually verify this).
So, what is going on here? My wife worked for many years both as a teller and as a supervisor of tellers, and she pointed out that there is an account number scrawled on the back: AC ('account') 22927. That will be the account into which the cheque was deposited. The lack of an endorsement, she says, would be very difficult to explain unless the cheque was being deposited into an account that belonged to the payee. So, here is the question. Does Grewal have an account at this bank (#22927)? If that is the case, the bank's behaviour at least becomes a little less bizarre. Most banks will allow almost anyone to deposit a cheque to one of their customers into that account. The other possibility--raised by someone in the comments to a thread somewhere else (sorry, I've forgotten where I've seen this)--is that the whole cheque is forged. The difficulty with that, of course, is that banks now digitize all cheques as a matter of course (indeed, we may be looking at the bank's digitization). Any such forgery would be easy to catch.

Update. There is some interesting discussion about banking procedure over at SDA.

Update 2. Kate reports that the branch routing numbers on front and reverse of the cheque make clear that it was cashed/deposited in the same branch that it was drawn on. (This is, I think, consistent with what I sketched out above--but there are still several things unclear about this cheque.)


Post a Comment

<< Home