Category Archives: News & Announcements

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Two off-site shredding company employees charged with stealing $153,000 in transit passes

Two off-site shedding co. employees charged with stealing $153,000 in transit passesMETRO VANCOUVER – Two men have been charged with stealing 80,000 TransLink FareSaver tickets from the shredding company where they were employed.

James Gordon Hemenway, 40, of Vancouver, and Patrick Robert Parry, 46, of Surrey, have been charged with one count each of theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000.

The one-, two- and three-zone tickets, prepaid transit passes worth an estimated $153,000, were picked up and sent to be shredded at Urban Impact Recycling’s Richmond facility after an April 2010 fare increase.

TransLink still honours these old FareSaver tickets as full fares and spokesman Ken Hardie said before a fare increase there is usually a rush of people scooping up the soon-to-be-outdated tickets.

Transit police said they received a tip several months ago that these tickets were being sold for a reduced price on the black market and began an investigation. Police would not say how many tickets were sold.

“They eventually made their way to the street,’ said Transit Police Insp. Brian MacDonald. “A bunch of people would end up buying them, eventually, through the chain that they had set up.”

Hardie said TransLink only shreds large amounts about once every three years and that in future a TransLink employee will be on site during any bulk shredding.

“The FareSavers had been printed prior to the increase,” Hardie said. “I don’t know the actual time from when [those charged] removed them from the shredder company to when [the passes] hit the streets.”

Urban Impact Recycling founder and CEO Nicole Stefenelli said her firm is still handling TransLink’s documents and that the two accused no longer work for the company.

“The risks, generally, with information are that it is kept secure and, very simply, destroyed completely,” Stefenelli said.

MacDonald said the possession or sale of stolen FareSavers is an offence and it is illegal for passengers to buy tickets from anyone other than a licensed vendor.

Hemenway and Parry are scheduled to appear in a Vancouver court in December.


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Medical records found near dumpster near Buffalo & Washington

Medical records found near dumpster near Buffalo & WashingtonLas Vegas, NV (KTNV) — A Las Vegas woman got quite a surprise as she drove around looking for empty boxes to store her holiday decorations. She found some near a dumpster but they weren’t empty. To her surprise they were packed with medical records. So she emailed Action News wondering how they got there.

“This is crazy that somebody would just throw confidential personal information like this in the trash can,” said Jacquelyn Romero.

From credit cards applications to patient’s name, addresses and even social security numbers. All that information was just sitting next to a dumpster in a parking lot near Buffalo Drive and Washington Avenue. Jacquelyn knew it shouldn’t be there.

“I was astounded,” said Jacquelyn.

An identity theft victim herself, Jacquelyn put the boxes in her trunk and emailed Action News to find out what to do next.

“I just thought it was really important that Channel 13 know that there are businesses out there that are unscrupulous enough to just totally blatantly disregard people’s private confidential information and leave them wide open for criminal activity,” said Jacquelyn.

There were several doctor’s names in the paperwork. One of them is Dr. Robert Troell. Action News called him to let him know what Jacquelyn found.

“I was not surprised to hear that the medical records were placed in dumpsters,” said Jacquelyn.

Dr. Troell says he used to work at Pure Med Spa, one of the companies whose name was listed on the documents in the boxes. He says he quit about three years ago.

“In the state of Nevada there is a guideline that you have to keep records for five years and you have to get rid of them in a ethical, confidential format,” said Dr. Troell.

Pure Med Spa’s website shows they had a location at the Galleria at Sunset, but the phone number is disconnected.

Action News learned from calling their office in Toronto that there aren’t any Pure Med Spas still open in the United States.

Another business among the paperwork, Brite Smile Brite Skin, also didn’t have a working number. Their address shows they were once at the Fashion Show Mall but officials there couldn’t confirm if they were ever a tenant.

So the question remains where did the records come from?

Jacquelyn just wants to do the right thing.

“If I had to take it to Opportunity Village to be shredded and pay for it myself I would do it,” said Jacquelyn.

But she didn’t have to. We put her in touch with the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners. Days after she called them, Jacquelyn says investigators came out and picked up the boxes.

“All I can say is every one of these people can be thankful that I found their things because it’s not going to go any further,” said Jacquelyn.

The Nevada Board of Medical Examiners could only really tell us that they’re now looking into this. We’re going to keep in touch with them and see what comes out of their investigation.


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Bronx cops involved in file flub

Bronx cops in file flubBronx cops disposed of dozens of sensitive files by tossing them in the garbage outside the 40th Precinct station house, where they were fair game for local Dumpster divers.

The files — including at least one domestic-violence report, stolen property records, criminal complaints and mug shots — were found yesterday by a reporter from News 12 The Bronx.

Red-faced police refused to say how long they’d been there or if anything was missing when they retrieved them.

They also declined to comment on whether any of the paperwork involved live cases.

In addition to proving embarrassing to people who came into contact with the law, the files could possibly be used by identity thieves to get into bank or credit-card accounts. officials said.

But one source insisted, “To the best of our knowledge, nobody’s safety has been compromised.”

The department recently has been warning New Yorkers not to put any personal documents in the trash without running them through shredders — because thieves posing as bottle collectors have been mining bins for personal information.

A source said the documents were trashed by a precinct employee — it’s unclear whether it was an officer or a civilian — who found they were drenched by a flood that was caused by a broken pipe in the basement.

Though soggy, the files were for the most part still readable.


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Personal documents dumped at Duluth recycling center

Personal documents dumped at Duluth recycling centerDULUTH, GA (CBS ATLANTA)

The Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection has opened an investigation into how and why documents with people’s personal information were dumped in a Gwinnett County dumpster. State officials said they opened the investigation after seeing a story on CBS Atlanta news.

“We value very much the information your station in particular provides,” said John Sours, with the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs.

The documents contained people’s Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers and medical records.

“There is no way to justify an occurrence like that,” said Sours.

The documents appear to belong to a company called Staffing Solutions. CBS Atlanta News did some digging and learned it’s a staffing agency with offices across the country, including one in Alpharetta. Many of the documents found have an Alpharetta address. The address on the documents doesn’t exist. The address on the company’s website is vacant.

“You have to ask yourself, how would I appreciate it if somebody was treating my personal information this way? Inevitably, the answer is I wouldn’t like it, so I don’t want to treat anybody else the same way,” Sours said.

Sours said state law requires companies to take reasonable steps to dispose of documents containing people’s personal information. He said companies can shred, erase or redact the documents. Sours said the maximum penalty for failing to do so is $2,000 per individual violation.

If you believe your information may have been compromised or you know who dumped the documents, call the Governor’s Office of Consumer affairs.


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School Accidentally Throws Out Books and Student Information

School Accidentally Throws Out Books and Student InformationSANTA MARIA – Dozens of federally-funded books and documents containing families’ personal information were thrown in a dumpster at a elementary school and have been cleared out by school officials.

A Santa Maria resident was throwing some trash out before his morning run when he was startled by what he saw inside the dumpsters outside of Miller Elementary.

“I’m puzzled, just wondering why these books are in the trash can,” said Adolfo Lopez of Santa Maria. “That’s taxpayers’ money and I would like to get some answers.”

Dozens of school books, many of them brand new, were thrown out.

There were also boxes filled with personal documents, including applications for free and reduced price meals containing financial information.

“Documents that should have been shredded but they have people’s personal information in it piled in the thrash can for everyone to see,” said Will Smith of the board of directors for the Santa Maria-Benita School District.

Principal Karen Porter said while kids are on break from school crews cleaned out one of the storage rooms that had books dating back to 2003.

She said they may have not realized just what they were throwing out.

“They should not have been there, absolutely not, and so we’re going to do a better job with communicating what’s in boxes, so that this never happens again,” she said.

Some parents said they were shocked to learn what happened.

“It’s a shocker,” said Regina Rivera, whose child attends Miller Elementary. “It’s sad for our students that go to the Santa Maria-Benita School District to have books thrown out when they can be used elsewhere instead of in the garbage.”

“We do not want to toss books, not if they can be used,” Porter said. “Some of the books were very, very old and the instruction is different now than it was then.”

Porter said all personal documents will be shredded and the books will be donated to children and local groups.

The school keeps student documents on file for seven years.


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Identities Compromised After Documents Not Properly Discarded

Identities Compromised After Documents Not Properly DiscardedPORTSMOUTH, Ohio – A long-time counselor who works for the state to help people with disabilities find jobs, finds himself at the center of an investigation by the Ohio Inspector General’s office.

The counselor has been at the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission’s Portsmouth office for 30 years, but now he is accused of dumping confidential records, ONN’s Denise Alex reported on Tuesday.

State officials said that the counselor was placed on administrative leave Tuesday after discarding those documents in a dumpster.

“He is a long-time employee so this is something that is a bit baffling,” said Kevin Miller, Executive Director of the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission.

The documents that were found in the dumpster next to the Portsmouth office contained social security numbers and medical records.

“We had a consumer that was there and was cleaning out his car and saw some of the information and told our office,” said Randy Meyer, Ohio Inspector General.

The Ohio Inspector General’s Office is investigating with the help of the counselor’s employer. They said that this breach should have never happened.

“In the last 12 months we had two trainings for counselors and staff on what we call CPI which is consumer protection information. That is very critical to the mission of what we do. This is kind of 101. We don’t understand how this occurred.” Miller said.

It’s believed that 20 consumer’s private information was compromised, Alex reported.

Meyer said that the punishments for this action could vary.

“It’s still too early to tell whether this was malicious or just an act of laziness,” Meyer said. “It all depends on how the outcome of the investigation comes out.”

Right now the Ohio Inspector General’s Office is interviewing and assisting the affected consumers with the help of the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission.

Both state agencies said that protocol was to shred the documents rather than dump them.


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Report: ‘Confetti’ Dropped During Giants Parade Contained Confidential Information

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Report: ‘Confetti’ Dropped During Giants Parade Contained Confidential Information

Unbelievable. Stupid.

Those were just a couple of the words New Yorkers used to describe a head-scratching practice during Tuesday’s Super Bowl parade for the New York Giants along the Canyon of Heroes.

It turns out that some of the “confetti” dropped from office buildings was actually unshredded paper containing personal information and records, including Social Security numbers and medical records.

That report came from the show Inside Edition, which said some papers even included information about a 54-year-old woman’s mammogram — all with specific details.

“You just have to watch your personal information and make sure that nothing happens,” one woman told 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten.

Others, however, didn’t seem as concerned.

“I don’t get the impression that people are actually going to pick up these pieces of paper and cause something like identity theft or something along those lines,” one man said.


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Dumpster full of medical records found outside pharmacy

Dumpster full of medical records found outside pharmacyDENVER – After a tip led 9Wants to Know to a dumpster containing medical records of thousands of patients, a local pharmacy may be hit with a massive federal fine.

The unshredded documents were found in plain view in an open dumpster at the corner of Gaylord and 18th Streets. The dumpster is used by Cornell Pharmacy.

After reviewing the documents, 9Wants to Know estimates around 5,000 people are mentioned in the documents, along with corresponding prescriptions, addresses and phone numbers.

“I am just furious,” said Pamela Carter who is named in the documents. “[I feel] really violated because I have trusted them for so long.”

Identity theft expert John Sileo told 9Wants to Know there is plenty of damaging information in the documents.

Sileo said a con-artist could have used the info to pose as a doctor or pharmacist, and extract more private data by calling patients.

“Essentially it’s currency,” Sileo said of the documents. “And that’s something they need to take responsibility for.”

The pharmacy may have violated the federal medical privacy law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

HIPAA requires medical companies and agencies to take extraordinary care of private patient information.

The Office for Civil Rights under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the agency that enforces HIPAA.

Agency director Leon Rodriguez would not confirm or deny there is an active investigation into Cornell Pharmacy.

“That’s clearly something we view as a violation,” Rodriguez said. “Something for which, depending on the circumstances, we might impose significant monetary penalties.”

A penalty for Cornell could be massive.

After the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis found Rite-Aid dumping private patient info in dumpsters, the company was hit with a $1 million dollar fine.

Representative’s with Cornell Pharmacy declined an on-camera interview.

An attorney for Cornell sent 9Wants to Know a statement saying, “The failure to Shred them was inadvertent.”

Cornell also said someone cut the lock off the dumpster and that a police report has been filed.

A spokesperson for Waste Management said locks on dumpsters are not designed to keep trash secure.

“Container locks provided by WM are provided to keep 3rd parties from dumping into our customer containers, not to secure materials disposed in the containers,” said Tiffiany Moehring.

Under HIPAA regulations, Cornell may have to undergo the task of notifying the thousands of people who are named in the documents about the incident.

Cornell said in its statement that it’s “100 percent committed to protecting the privacy of its customers’ information.”

9Wants to Know has provided Cornell access to the information so it could notify patients. 9News plans on shredding the documents.