Kamloops man defrauded court to get marriage annulled | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops man defrauded court to get marriage annulled

Warren Zant in a photo posted to his new wife's Instagram account Oct. 3, 2021. His representatives tried to convince the court he is mentally incompetent — and in a mental institution in Mexico.
Image Credit: Instagram

A Kamloops man attempted to use fraud and forgery to convince a B.C. Supreme Court judge to deny his ex-wife his pension benefits — and was almost successful.

Warren Thomas Zant, 76, did manage to convince Justice Dennis Hori to annul his 1999 marriage to Gina Elizabeth Zant after a Nov. 3, 2021, telephone hearing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hori said Warren appeared by phone, as did Gina Zant who consented to the order. Hori was also provided documents from the Cook Islands, where they were married, showing they couldn’t be legally married because Gina was not divorced from her ex-husband. Hori also had a document with Gina’s signature consenting to the annulment.

But in a B.C. Supreme Court decision published, Nov. 18, Hori later learned it was all lies and misrepresentation — and the judge inexplicably never asked for proof of identity of Gina Zant.

The deception went completely undetected until Warren sent the annulment order and change of beneficiary to the Operating Engineers’ Pension Plan, where Warren put in 50 years worth of contributions. The pension plan informed his ex-wife of the change in beneficiary status but when she denied ever consenting to the change, the pension company sued and they all wound up in court.

Image Credit: International Union of Operating Engineers

And the lies and deception continued.

It was clear by a video-conference hearing in June 2022, the ruse was about to unravel. Warren, who was represented on video hearings by a woman named Yvonne Venter who said she had power of attorney, delayed a formal hearing of the case twice but the judge already paused his annulment order. Then Warren tried to sue the pension plan and Gina without notice — and to force justice Hori to remove himself from the case.

According to Hori, Warren first tried to remove Gina from his pension plan in October 2021, but that was denied by the pension company. Then his new wife Maryna du Plessis Baylis, of Cape Town South Africa, got involved. She wrote that: "The courts are ordering that she is removed from his pension plan because of various legal issues, that under provincial and state law has been violated" and signed it “Dr. Maryna Zant”.

That wasn’t true; the legal wranglings didn’t start until a month later.

Warren Zant and his new wife Maryna du Plessis, aka Maryna Zant, aka
Warren Zant and his new wife Maryna du Plessis, aka Maryna Zant, aka "Dr. Maryna Zant".
Image Credit: Instagram

Hori then picked through all the information he was originally given to support the annulment. One was an affidavit from the registrar of marriage from the Cook Islands, who declared the documents “fraud” and that her signature was forged. The lawyer who signed Warren’s sworn affidavit does not exist. Warren's representatives also told Hori the Canadian Embassy in Mexico directed the court proceedings be adjourned immediately and that the Embassy would be sending an “international human rights person" to intervene.

“This is another basis upon which I find that Warren Zant is not a credible individual,” Hori wrote before dismissing a number of other frivolous allegations.

Ex-wife Gina Grant swore to Hori that her signature was not on any of Warren's documents, that she had a binding separation agreement with Warren entitling her to half of his pension among other things, and that she did not appear before Hori by telephone.

"I am unable to determine, on the basis of the evidence before me, who actually appeared at the application representing herself as Gina Elizabeth Zant,” Hori wrote. "However, I am satisfied that whoever attended by telephone on that date was an imposter.”

According to a September 2021 announcement in a local newspaper, Zant married Maryna du Plessis of Cape Town, South Africa
According to a September 2021 announcement in a local newspaper, Zant married Maryna du Plessis of Cape Town, South Africa "on the Caribbean sea in Quintana Roo, Mexico, where they now reside."
Image Credit: Instagram

He quickly cancelled the annulment entirely, but then he had one more strange application he had to rule on — Warren Zant’s representatives applied to have him declared legally incompetent due to mental health. They claim he had been incompetent since 2012 (which if true would mean he had no capacity to transfer a power of attorney). There’s no indication why they sought the declaration, but relied on an affidavit from a woman claiming to be his psychiatrist.

The doctor made a number of allegations about Warren's ex-wife, which Hori ruled weren’t credible.

"After all this is a senior man that [has] suffered various forms of abuse by the hands of a woman, he suffered elder abuse, financial abuse, and a lot of other abuse, but the perpetrator is a woman so she can get away with the crimes committed against him,” the affidavit read. The statement was clearly well beyond any scope of knowledge of a psychiatrist.

At the time of the hearing, his agents claimed that he was in a psychiatric institute in Mexico.

A simple search of social media accounts for his new wife, Maryna du Plessis Baylis, shows him standing on a beach in 2021. Warren’s own Facebook page shows him enjoying some sightseeing in Mexico on Aug. 28, 2022.

The claim of his mental incompetence in 2012 goes back to one criminal conviction by Warren Zant — possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

Hori dispensed of all orders and applications, but it appears there are no consequences for so brazenly attempting to deceive the court.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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