Nova Scotia Health Authority employee charged with fraud and theft

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A Nova Scotia Health Authority employee has been charged with stealing from two people who attended a clinic.

The employee has been charged with credit card theft and fraud, according to a letter an authority official sent to 2,450 people who attended the clinic between February 2015 and September 2017.

“While we do not think you were affected, we recommend that you review your credit card and bank statements,” said the letter obtained by The Chronicle Herald, which was written by Colin Stevenson, the NSHA’s vice-president of quality, system performance and transformation.

“You may find it helpful to do this review with a trusted family member or friend. If you notice any unusual activity, please report it to your bank or credit card company. If you suspect theft has occurred, we encourage you to also contact the police to report it.”

When questioned Friday about the incident, the authority wouldn’t release details such as the location of the clinic, the amount stolen or how the fraud was committed.

“We can’t disclose which clinic, to protect the privacy and confidentiality of those patients receiving the letters, as they may not want friends or family knowing they attended the clinic,” an NSHA spokeswoman said in an email.

Carla Adams said anyone who has received the letter and has questions can call the NSHA at 1-833-224-0811.

In an email Friday, Stevenson said the employee involved has been charged with theft and is no longer working in the clinic.

“It is also important to note this matter is before the courts and the allegations have not been proven,” he said.

“Part of our established process is to inform patients of incidents as soon as we can after they occur and to respond to any questions or concerns patients may have,” Stephenson said in the email. “As the letter states, we don’t believe any other patients were affected but advised them to review their credit card and banking information as a precaution.

“We understand that this news is likely unsettling, and we are very sorry this happened at our clinic. This incident is not reflective of our values; NSHA teams work very hard to earn and maintain the trust of the patients they care for, and practice with a great deal of integrity and commitment. We are reviewing processes to determine how we can prevent this from happening in the future.”

The provincial auditor general has criticized fraud control procedures in place at provincial organizations, including the health authority. In his last report in October, Michael Pickup said only 14 of 48 government organizations have a fraud policy and organizations without risk assessments include the NSHA, the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, school boards and the IWK Health Centre.

The former CEO of the IWK, Tracy Kitch, quit in August after coming under fire after CBC News reported she had used a corporate credit card to pay personal expenses.

The executive’s corporate credit card statements reportedly included thousands of dollars charged by The Bay last November, multiple charges from iTunes and Netflix and more than $2,000 for a limousine service.

Read the original story over at The Chronicle Herald.

This story was summarized by Canadian Fraud News Inc.