The industry watchdog is calling for the lifetime revocation of the license of a mortgage broker deemed a suspect in the Desjardins mass data theft investigation.
Posted yesterday at 19:51
Mathieu Joncas, who is also a private lender, purchased confidential information on “150,000 to 200,000” Desjardins clients without securing their consent. During the hearings, he admitted to giving this information to a fellow runner in January 2017.
In September 2021, the disciplinary committee of the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) also found him guilty of having obstructed the trustee’s investigation of him.
Mathieu Joncas will also be sanctioned for having placed himself in a conflict of interest situation by acting both as a mortgage broker and as a private lender with some of his clients.
A list of $100,000
To obtain the sensitive data, Mathieu Joncas paid around $100,000 to another suspect in the data theft investigation, Jean-Loup Leullier-Masse.
The police suspect that this other private moneylender bought stolen information from Sébastien Boulanger-Dorval. This former Desjardins employee is the number one suspect in the police investigation into the theft of confidential information from the Movement.
In 2021, Mathieu Joncas had tried to convince the disciplinary committee of his innocence (according to him, the data he had purchased could be collected from public sources). Unsuccessfully.
Instead, the organization concluded that it was indeed confidential information that the broker had obtained without consent. Unable to say whether the information actually came from the data breach at Desjardins, the broker’s watchdog determined it likely came from a financial institution.
In addition to customer contact information, the lists contained mortgage balances, interest rates, information about credit used, and life insurance premiums.
Last February, Mathieu Joncas tried to force the disciplinary committee to withdraw his guilty verdict and restart the investigation from scratch.
His lawyer claimed that the information he had purchased could not have come from the data breach at Desjardins. According to him, the documents that were made public as part of the police investigation suggested that the main suspect had stolen this information only since March 2017. This is three months after the charges against Mathieu Joncas.
However, the committee rejected his request, ruling that the data he had purchased was confidential.
Mathieu Joncas could however appeal the disciplinary committee’s guilty decision when his sanction is known in the coming weeks, according to his lawyer Olivier Desjardins.
Aggravating factors, lawsuit says
The trustee’s lawyer, Isabelle Martel, alleged a series of aggravating factors to convince the disciplinary commission to maintain the sanction that she claims.
In particular, it highlights the many obstacles that Mathieu Joncas placed in the path of the ICAO trustee during his investigation.
“He tries to make believe that he wants to collaborate. He shows up to a meeting. He is asked to bring the computer for him; he brings it, but there is nothing left in it”, illustrates Isabelle Martel.
He points out that Mathieu Joncas is an agency manager. “Supervise the runners. He is a resourceful person who should be an example, a model! »
The lawyer adds that the disciplinary committee had already sentenced Mathieu Joncas for the first time in 2014 for having encouraged two people who were not license holders to do mortgage brokerage.
Regarding his conflicts of interest, Isabelle Martel points out that Mathieu Joncas charged exorbitant fees to clients who did business with him. One borrower, in particular, paid you a $12,400 fee on a $54,000 loan, or a 23% fee, even before interest was calculated. According to her, the broker “cares much more about his benefit than the financial profile of the client”.
“He has no proof of his behavioral change, his risk of recidivism or his rehabilitation,” the attorney said. The only way to protect the public is if they no longer have a permit. »
“Lack of trial”, alleges the defense
Instead, Mathieu Joncas’s lawyer proposes the simple suspension of his client’s license for seven months.
According to him, his client was unaware that the purchased data came from a robbery and above all he lacked judgment.
“I think Mr. Joncas, unfortunately – I apologize for putting it bluntly in front of him – was stupid to believe that it could be legitimate, that there were no more questions to ask,” says Olivier Desjardins.
The broker’s representative also proposed imposing a reprimand on him for the conflict of interest charge, as well as an order requiring him to take a course on the subject.