Canadian Judge Cancels Marriage Annulment After Finding the Ex-Wife Was an ‘Imposter’

  • Honestly, we’re surprised he managed to get the marriage annulled in the first place.

Getting a divorce is an ugly business. But it gets even uglier when one of the partners has no idea it’s happening — because an imposter has taken their place.

That was the bizarre situation that a judge in British Columbia, Canada, faced a year ago. And he bought it.

Judge Dennis Hori annulled the marriage of Warren and Gina Zant in 2021. But at the time of the proceedings, Gina Zant had been replaced by an anonymous “imposter.”

But now, the judge has caught onto the plot.

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

As a result, Hori has annulled his earlier annulment decision. Warren and Gina are once again legally married — though they’re probably not very happy about it.

A Two-Decade Marriage

The events leading to the theft of Gina Zant’s identity began on November 27, 1999. On that date, Warren and Gina Zant got married in the tropical Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Some two decades later, the couple ran into irreconcilable differences. They decided to separate, but before they did, they signed a separation agreement.

Under the agreement, Gina Zant would receive survivor benefits under Warren Zant’s Operating Engineers’ Pension Plan. Essentially, if Warren died, Gina would receive his pension.

It seems that something happened that made Warren regret this arrangement. So, he set up a bizarre plot to kick Gina off his pension plan.

A Slew of Evidence

Warren Zant approached the courts in British Columbia, seeking the annulment of his marriage. Not a divorce, because that might’ve still given Gina some rights to his estate — he wanted to wipe the slate clean as if the marriage never existed.

The case got assigned to Judge Hori. In support of his annulment application, Zant produced an impressive collection of documents.

Among others, Warren presented an email allegedly written by a Cook Islands official. According to the message, “this marriage is fraud or totally annulled, it does not exist” under the Pacific island nation’s laws.

The documents he produced had been before an official. They bore the approval of one Enrique Alejandro Alonso Serrato, supposedly a “commissioner for taking affidavits for the Canadian embassy” in Chetumal, Mexico.

Finally, Warren handed over a document bearing a supposed signature by Gina Zant that consented to an annulment.

“I was fully aware that our marriage in the Cook Islands [was] not legally binding,” the document read.

Faced with the pile of evidence, Hori annulled the Zants’ marriage on November 24, 2021.

All Fraud

Shortly afterward, Warren called the Operating Engineers’ Pension Plan to get remove Gina’s survivor benefits. But when the plan contacted the real Gina Zant, everybody got very confused.

Gina Zant said she was “shocked” to hear about the annulment. She claimed she had no idea about any court proceedings regarding her marriage.

Together with the Pension Plan, Zant started digging into the matter. It turned out that most, if not all, of the “evidence” Warren had given Judge Hori was fraudulent.

After contacting Cook Islands authorities, Gina was told that they had never declared her and Warren’s marriage void. The Cook Islands senior registry manager for births, deaths, and marriages emailed Gina saying that all documents Warren had shown were “fraud documents which you did not [receive] from me.”

Additionally, Mr. Serrato from Mexico does not appear on any Canadian government list of lawyers or notaries. Additionally, the Canadian embassy said they do not employ any Mr. Serrato or even have an office in Chetumal.

As part of the annulment process, Judge Hori held a phone interview with Warren Zant and someone who claimed to be Gina. Canadian courts started accepting phone interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, it soon became very clear that whoever had talked to Judge Hori was not Gina.

With the new evidence, Judge Hori walked back on his earlier decision. He canceled the annulment, meaning Gina is still eligible for benefits from Warren’s pension plan.

‘Serious Consequences’

Warren had one last trick up his sleeve, though. He claimed to be “mentally incompetent” and not legally responsible and as such, the marriage annulment should be upheld.

We’re not exactly sure what his endgame here was. And it seems Judge Hori doesn’t understand the move either.

He rules that Warren’s claims about his mental health were based on unreliable evidence from witnesses without reasonable credibility. Besides, he noted that if Warren was mentally incompetent, then he wouldn’t have been able to apply for the annulment in the first place.

Now, the Operating Engineers’ Pension Plan is aiming to recover all legal costs related to the case from Warren.

“I think there … needs to be a loud message to like-minded individuals that our system of justice is based on principles of honesty and that there are serious consequences for fraudulent conduct,” said David Paul, a Pension Plan lawyer.