Hand stopping dominos

An insurance agent who falsified her continuing education credits has had her licence renewal refused by Ontario’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

The regulator issued an order refusing to license former agent Sandy Leigh Ulrich following a decision by the Financial Services Tribunal in April, which directed FSRA to refuse to renew her authorization on the basis that she’s not suitable.

That ruling followed allegations from the regulator that Ulrich purchased fraudulent continuing education (CE) certificates, and provided them to FSRA as proof that she had completed her required CE.

In a regulatory notice, FSRA alleged that, in 2016, Ulrich paid $100 for five certificates falsely attesting that she had completed 30 hours of required CE, including courses on financial planning, estate planning, segregated funds, consumer needs analysis, and universal life policies.

In 2017 her licence was renewed on the basis of this alleged deceit, but when she applied for a renewal again in 2019, the regulator issued a notice proposing to revoke her licence.

According to the tribunal’s decision, the falsified CE certificates were provided by Michael Rutledge, formerly a legitimate teacher of insurance-related education courses, who “gave up teaching in 2004 and provided falsified [CE] credits to many licensed insurance agents in the period from approximately 2007 to 2017,” the tribunal said.

In 2019, Rutledge and the regulator entered into a settlement that banned him from the insurance industry for 10 years and required him to cooperate in enforcement actions involving life agents who had obtained false CE certificates from him.

According to the tribunal’s decision in this case, Ulrich claimed that she completed online courses supplied by Rutledge to earn the credits and that she borrowed several textbooks from him.

However, the tribunal noted that there was “[n]o evidence of this … provided at the hearing.”

It ultimately concluded that “Ulrich did supply fraudulent [CE] credits and false information to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, the prior regulator, in 2017,” and it ordered FSRA to refuse to renew her life insurance licence.

It also found that she was unsuitable for failing to complete her CE and providing a material misstatement about that failing on her licence renewal application, and because she “demonstrated untrustworthiness” to work in the insurance industry.