BC woman wins $4.1 million in lottery, loses $600,000 to friend

Rosas sued Toca for loan repayment in July 2014 but Toca maintained that the money had been a gift from her friend.
Rosas sued Toca for loan repayment in July 2014 but Toca maintained that the money had been a gift from her friend.(Photo: iStock).

There is an old adage that says, don’t lend money to friends. That is something the people in this case should have taken to heart.

Enone Rosas won $4.1 million dollars in January 2007 and decided to loan her good friend $600,000. This was a decision Rosas would come to regret.

Rosas immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in the 1990s, and settled in Vancouver, B.C. with her husband and children. In 2004 she met her friend Hermenisabel Toca while taking a business program at the Academy of Learning. Toca, too, had immigrated to Canada from the Philippines and the two bonded over their similar backgrounds and became friends.

When Rosas found out she won the lottery in 2007, Toca was with her. In a burst of generosity, Rosas loaned her friend $600,000 to be repaid “next year” and her friend bought a house with the loan money. There was no written agreement made for the loan.

A year passed and no efforts were made towards loan repayment. During that year, the two women didn’t see each other much as Rosas was travelling. Still, they stayed friends until 2013, at which point the friendship declined.

Rosas sued Toca for loan repayment in July 2014 but Toca maintained that the money had been a gift from her friend.

Despite having no written agreement, Supreme Court of British Columbia Judge Marguerite Church found that the money was a loan and not a gift, and should have been repaid within one year.

Technically, Toca had to repay the loan but there was one problem with the repayment: Rosas filed her court claim against Toca too late.

Church found that while Toca failed to repay the loan, the court couldn’t order for the loan to be repaid, because Rosas filed her claim six months after the limitation period expired. A limitation period means that a person has only a certain amount of time to file a claim against another person.

Church explained that in this case, the clock started running six years from the date the loan was due, and she found the limitation period started on January 10, 2008 and expired January 10, 2014. As Rosas filed her claim in July 2014, her claim was no longer valid.

Church dismissed the case.

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