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The Ontario Securities Commission said Wednesday that the pleas came after charges were laid concerning the “misuse of confidential patient information” from the Rouge Valley Health System and the Scarborough Hospital, two institutions in Toronto’s east end.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Four people have pleaded guilty in cases involving the theft and sale of confidential maternity ward records, which were then used to market registered education savings plan (RESP) investments to new mothers.

The Ontario Securities Commission said Wednesday that the pleas came after charges were laid concerning the "misuse of confidential patient information" from the Rouge Valley Health System and the Scarborough Hospital, two institutions in Toronto's east end.

The cases came to light after a number of new mothers were mysteriously contacted by RESP salespeople after bringing their new babies home.

Nellie Acar, a former saleswoman for Global RESP Corp., was charged with purchasing stolen maternity patient information from a registered nurse, Esther Cruz, over two and a half years. Ms. Cruz used to work in the maternity wards of both Rouge Valley and the Scarborough Hospital.

Ms. Acar admitted that she gave Ms. Cruz money in return for patient information and pleaded guilty to one count of secret commissions and one count of using a forged document. Ms. Cruz admitted to receiving the money and pleaded guilty to two counts of secret commissions. These charges were under the criminal code.

Both were sentenced to six-month conditional sentences, which will include three months of house arrest. They both also were given two years probation and will be required to perform 340 hours of community service.

Two other individuals, Polina Edry and Subramanian Sulur, each pleaded guilty to one count of participating in an "improper referral arrangement" under the Ontario Securities Act. Both were registered dealers – Ms. Edry at Knowledge First Financial Inc. and Mr. Sulur at C.S.T. Consultants Inc.

The OSC said Ms. Edry admitted in court that she bought names of new parents from a former employee of the Rouge Valley Health System, paying about $2.50 to $2.75 per name, for a total of $10,513.25. Those names were used as leads for possible RESP sales. Ms. Edry also admitted "that she was willfully blind to the fact that not all of the patients had agreed to have their personal information shared," the OSC said.

The names came from former Rouge Valley file clerk Shaida Bandali, who last fall pleaded guilty to charges of unregistered trading. She was fined $36,000 and given two years of probation and 300 hours of community service.

Ms. Edry will be sentenced in August, while sentencing submissions for Mr. Sulur will take place later this month.

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