Shaida Bandali, the former Rouge Valley Hospital employee who allegedly sold investor lists to RESP dealers culled from patient records,appeared in a Toronto court Friday. The OSC confirmed to WP that nothing of note happened, and the matter has been put over until Monday January 19, 2015, at 9:00 a.m.
To refresh your memory, the former hospital employee is accused of collecting the patient records of 8,300 parents over a four-year period between January 2010 and March 2014. Caught by chance after a second employee, who was found doing the same thing but accidentally left a patient list in a photocopier, prompted the hospital to undertake a thorough investigation which then unearthed a much bigger breach of privacy.
If convicted, Bandali could face a jail sentence of up to five years less a day, a fine of up to $5 million or a combination of the two.
Since this breach has come to light WP’s wondered aloud why the OSC hasn’t revealed the name or names of the RESP dealers who were buying the lists. Surely, the OSC understands that no new parent would want to do business with an RESP dealer willing to partake in such an obvious breach of privacy. As long as the dealer names remain under wraps it’s possible that unknowing parents are establishing RESPs at this very moment with the firm(s) in question.
That hardly puts the securities industry in a favorable light.
There are likely many good reasons why the OSC has remained silent. And so we reached out to Ottawa lawyer Harold Geller for his observations based purely on the facts revealed in the press.
First, Geller points out that the key evidentiary issue in the OSC allegations is evidence of “trading in securities.” A quick check with the CSA would determine if the alleged defendant was registered to trade securities. We checked and find no indication of this.
Next, it’s important to determine if the alleged defendant simply intended to create investor lists or intended to use this information to breach the security act. While it seems clear that Bandali, at a minimum, intended to distribute these lists for profit, it’s quite possible that she believed they would be used by a car dealer or some other commercial operation and not an RESP dealer.
The public facts, in and of themselves, do not necessarily make for a conviction. The facts will be tested in a court of law and a determination of intent will be rendered.
In closing, Geller states, “I can add that, in my view, if proven, this type of breach of the securities act is a very serious undermining of market integrity. My comment is directed at the dealer who obtained the information and not the individual who sold the information. The dealer’s actions undermine the credibility of all registered dealers and the way they deal with obtaining leads. One bad apple is a very, very serious matter.”
So, again, why do the name(s) of the RESP dealers remain anonymous? Hopefully, for parents with newborns, this mystery doesn’t remain this way for too much longer.