A judge in British Columbia has cancelled a marriage annulment after discovering the ex-wife who appeared before the court was an imposter.
In an attempt to get his marriage annulled, the husband used a woman to pose as his wife over a “remote audio connection” in court to deny his ex-wife his pension benefits, according to a report by CBC News.
Warren Zant, a 76-year-old Kamloops resident, married his wife, Gina Zant in the Cook Islands in 1999 and the two separated two decades later. They filed an agreement that stated that Gina Zant would receive survivor benefits with Warren Zant’s Operating Engineers’ Pension Plan.
In Nov. 2021, Warren participated in a virtual court hearing where he appeared by telephone claiming that his ex-wife was also in the room with him. Warren Zant explained to Justice Dennis Hori that their marriage in 1999 could not have been done legally due to Gina Zant not having been divorced from her ex-husband.
Hori accepted these terms after viewing documents that had Gina Zant’s signature on them consenting to the annulment. He had not requested further proof that Gina Zant was indeed the woman on the phone.
Warren Zant then sent a copy of the annulment order to the Operating Engineers’ Pension Plan. After the decision, Gina Zant got wind of the annulment after the administrator of the pension plan called her to update her. Gina Zant said she “was unaware of any court proceedings.”
After Gina Zant was made aware of the proceedings, Hori re-assessed his decision.
He scrutinized the original documents Warren Zant had given him and verified emails that stated that Warren Zant’s marriage to Gina was fraudulent. Hori then determined that the papers from Chetumal, Mexico were also fradulent, later confirmed by the Canadian embassy.
David Paul, the lawyer for the Pension Plan stated that the real Gina Zant was “very pleased” with Hori’s decision.
According to Info News, Warren claimed he was mentally incompetent in 2012, but in 2022 on social media there are pictures of him and his new wife happily sightseeing in Mexico.
The parties will return to court in Jan. 2023.