Wife’s Deceit and Fraud Leads to Significant Damage Award

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After 30 years of practicing family law I am certain there will always be another case where deceit and fraud visited upon one spouse by the other is beyond the pale. Skinkle v. Skinkle 2019 ONSC 2353 is such a case.

While the Reasons for Judgment are sparse with respect to the details of their lives together, Randy and Mary Skinkle’s marriage ended, like many others. However, the conclusion of their relationship was marred by Mary Skinkle’s fraudulent financial activities, done without her husband’s knowledge or consent.

The evidence before Mr. Justice LaBrosse showed that Mary Skinkle forged her husband’s signature on numerous letters thereby intercepting monies that were payable to him. She also incurred a number of debts in her husband’s name through nefarious means, leaving him with the responsibility to pay them. Further, she arranged to cash in her husband’s life insurance policy keeping the cash for herself and cancelling the policy.

Randy Skinkle sued his wife for fraud, pleading that she knowingly made false representations to secure funds for her own financial benefit. Further, she fraudulently obtained a mortgage, secured funds from other bank accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, stock bonds, GIC’s, RRSP’s and other individuals.

The Court awarded Mr. Skinkle the sum of $180,455 and accepted that his wife’s conduct caused him mental anguish, inconvenience, and loss of enjoyment of life, not to mention the drastic effect on his credit rating. Judge Labrosse found that Mr. Skinkle had demonstrated that his wife’s actions caused an intrusion on his financial integrity, relying on Sobko v. Amex Bank of Canada (2006) 27 BLR (4th) 114 (ONSC) and awarded an additional $5,000 in damages.

He was also awarded costs close to the substantial indemnity rate based on Mary Skinkle’s fraudulent misrepresentations and deceitful conduct, in the amount of $11,431.

While Ms. Skinkle had initially engaged counsel, she did not show up for the hearing.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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