Robert Riley Saunders. (File)

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)

Former Kelowna social worker sued again for allegedly stealing from foster children

Multiple suits have been filed against Robert Riley Saunders in the past year

Another civil claim has been filed against a former Kelowna social worker accused of stealing money from foster children in his care while he worked for the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Numerous claims have been made over the past year accusing Robert Riley Saunders of taking money from Indigenous youth in his care.

The most recent claim, filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Oct. 21 by a permanent ward whose name cannot be published, names Saunders, the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Director of Child Welfare and Interior Savings Credit Union.

READ MORE: Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

READ MORE: More allegations against second social worker accused of abusing the trust of Okanagan youth

The notice of civil claim alleges Saunders stole money from the plaintiff by opening a joint bank account between the two.

“Saunders stole the funds deposited by the ministry into the joint bank accounts by moving them to his own individual account at Interior Savings and by paying his personal expenses by electronic transfer from the joint bank account,” stated the claim.

“The plaintiff was and is vulnerable to abuse given her history of neglect, medical neglect, transiency and exposure to traumatic circumstances.”

According to court documents, Sauders was verbally and emotionally abusive to the plaintiff, undermining her self-confidence and her belief that she may be entitled to financial support from the government.

Saunders is alleged to have lied to and misled the plaintiff, coercing her into opening the joint bank account with him.

The claim states that due to the alleged abuse the plaintiff endured at the hands of Saunders, she experienced homelessness, exposure to illicit drugs (cocaine, methamphetamine, crack) and was sexually exploited.

The documents also accuse Saunders of targeting indigenous youth because he knew that his supervisors and managers and Interior Savings would not look too closely at their affairs or adequately safeguard their interests nor would they listen upon complaints from the individuals.

The allegations in the civil claim have not been proven in court.

Earlier this month, another suit against Saunders won a small victory in court when a judge ruled that Interior Savings must produce bank records of some of Saunders’ alleged victims.

In an Oct. 16 decision on a separate civil suit, the judge noted the plaintiff had tendered a copy of a “Personal Member Application” which was signed by Saunders as the applicant and an Interior Savings employee as a witness. Where the plaintiff would have signed, over the words “applicant signature,” “not a signer,” was written.

The plaintiff contended the document was evidence that Interior Savings allowed Saunders to open an account in her name without her signature.

Interior Savings was ordered to produce any further account opening documents on which one of the alleged victims of Saunders is “not a signer” or the alleged victim’s signature is left blank, as well as statements for those accounts.

That decision mentions 18 victims in total across 10 actions naming Interior Savings as a defendant with respect to Saunders’ alleged misappropriation or mishandling of funds. Three of those actions allege fraud and conspiracy between Saunders and Interior Savings.

The defence has yet to respond to these allegations. None of these claims have been proven in court and no charges have been laid.


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mya Kondor, owner and trainer of Canines and Co. in Kelowna. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Kelowna dog school offers puppy socialization classes amid COVID-19

Canines and Co. has adapted to the pandemic to provide training essential to puppies’ development

Jolene Grigg (Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News)
Jolene Grigg (Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News)
Jolene Grigg: Auto repair can be rewarding

Grigg is a manager at Craftsman Collision in Kelowna

Butter and sourdough bread is shown at a house in Vernon, B.C. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. A Quebec dairy farmers’ group is calling on milk producers to stop feeding palm oil or its derivatives to livestock as controversy churns over how these supplements affect the consistency of butter. (THE CANADIAN PRESS - Jesse Johnston)
Poll: Care to spread your feelings on butter?

Reports of hard butter have rattled the Canadian dairy industry

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

Most Read