TUESDAY, APRIL 17: A grandmother today told a jury she didn’t give her granddaughters permission to empty her bank accounts.
Lenice Tucker, 87, testified in the trial of her granddaughters Lorraine Smith and Audra-Ann Bean in the Supreme Court this morning.
Ms Tucker told the jury her sister Lesseline died on July 15, 2010 and left money to her in bank accounts at HSBC and Butterfield Bank.
Asked by Crown counsel Maria Sofianos if she had given permission for anyone to take the money out of the accounts at HSBC and the account at Butterfield, Ms Tucker said no.
Ms Sofianos then asked: “If Audra-Ann had asked you if she could have that money, would you have given her permission?”
Ms Tucker said no.
Ms Sofianos then asked the same about Ms Smith.
Ms Tucker said, “Yes and no.”
The prosecutor continued: “If she had asked you for $500, would you have given it to her?”
Ms Tucker said: “Perhaps, but not all that money.”
“If she asked you for $50,000, would you have given it to her.”
Ms Tucker said: “No, that’s a little bit too much.”
Asked by Ms Sofianos how she got along with Ms Bean and Ms Smith, the witness said, “Alright”.
Ms Tucker told the jury Ms Bean didn’t visit her often and Ms Smith visited her more than her sister.
Asked about a time she visited a bank with her granddaughters, Ms Tucker told the jury she went with Ms Bean, who didn’t tell her why they were going.
“I was sitting inside the door and Audra-Ann went to talk to a lady.
“She put a debit card in to get some money and she told me to get a card but I told her I don’t know how it goes.”
Ms Tucker couldn’t tell the jury which account the card was linked to.
The prosecutor then asked Ms Tucker if she remembered going to the bank after Lesseline died.
She told the jury yes.
Ms Sofianos then asked: “Was it ever your intention to make your granddaughters joint owners of your bank accounts?”
Ms Tucker said: “No, I didn’t make no joint of my grandchildren.”
Asked if she knew how much money was in the bank accounts after her sister died, Ms Tucker said she didn’t know.
She also told the jury she never spoke to Ms Smith or Ms Bean about the money in the bank accounts.
Ms Tucker also told the jury Ms Bean began to visit her more often, every three weeks to a month after Lesseline died.
Ms Sofianos then took Ms Tucker through various exhibits and she identified her signature on the documents.
She then asked: “What did you think you were doing when you signed those documents?”
Ms Tucker said: “All she said was sign my name.”
Ms Sofianos said: “Who said that?”
Ms Tucker replied: “Audra-Ann.”
The prosecutor continued: “Did you understand the purpose of signing?”
The witness said: “I just took the pen up and wrote my name.
“I didn’t think anything like that was going to happen.”
Ms Sofianos asked Ms Tucker what she meant and she said: “I mean for her to take me to the bank and make sign my name.”
Ms Tucker also told the jury she never gave the sisters permission to take any money from her bank accounts nor did they ask her permission to do so.
Ms Smith and Ms Bean deny financially exploiting their grandmother and stealing half a million dollars from her.