A former bank employee who obtained and then sold the personal information of 93 clients has been granted a mortgage agent’s licence despite objections raised by Ontario’s Superintendent of Financial Services.
In late 2009 and early 2010, Lisa Martin worked for a bank where she obtained the personal identity information of 93 clients (including their names, driver’s licences, dates of birth, and occupations) and sold them a third party for $2,500.
While none of the affected clients suffered a monetary loss, Martin was eventually charged by the Niagara Regional Police and found guilty of knowingly obtaining or possessing another person’s identity information under circumstances in which it could be reasonably inferred that the information was intended to be used to commit fraud. Martin was sentenced to a term of 12 months imprisonment in the community on conditions, which she completed in January 2015.
"A crime involving a significant breach of client trust"
When Martin recently applied to renew her mortgage agent license and return to the job she had previously held at Total Mortgage Source 360, the provincial Superintendent of Financial Services sought to refuse the application on the grounds that she was unsuitable, arguing that she had "committed a crime involving a significant breach of client trust" and had only recently completed her criminal sentence.
Martin appealed to the Ontario Financial Services Tribunal, where Total Mortgage Source 360's principal broker Sami El-Farram gave evidence on her behalf. He testified that he had no concerns about Martin reoffending should she be licensed as a mortgage broker, in part because "all my agents work under my supervision and we will not give her an opportunity".
"A pattern of redeeming behavior of sufficient length and consistency"
In particular, El-Farram pointed out that he runs a centralized office, has weekly meetings with agents, and has access to all client files and email. He promised to review Martin's files and email regularly and report to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) on his findings. He testified that if he found anything suspicious in his review he would lock Martin out of the system and contact the regulator.
After considering all the evidence, the Tribunal was of the view that Martin has demonstrated "a pattern of redeeming behavior of sufficient length and consistency" and ruled that she should be allowed to return to the mortgage business. "The public interest can be protected by granting an agent’s licence to Ms. Martin for a two-year term on conditions," concludes the decision.