'Fake nurse' accused of fraud in Ottawa and Vancouver pleads guilty to Ontario charges

A woman accused of posing as a nurse and working in hospitals in both B.C. and Ontario has pleaded guilty to several charges in Ottawa. John Hua reports.

The woman accused of operating as a fake nurse in B.C. and Ontario pleaded guilty Friday to seven charges relating to her time in Ottawa.

Brigitte Cleroux of Gatineau, Que., entered guilty pleas on two counts of assault with a weapon and several counts of collecting money under false pretense with an intent to defraud.

The assault charges relate to Cleroux’s use of needles to treat patients. The identity of the victims is protected by a publication ban.

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The court heard that Cleroux had used the identity of a real B.C. nurse and a fraudulent resume impersonating someone else to gain employment.

A masked Cleroux could be seen crying at times from the prisoners’ box at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre, from which she appeared by video.

The Crown is seeking a sentence of 10 years, but has requested she first undergo a mental health assessment.

The defence agreed with the Crown on the mental health assessment, but not the sentencing proposal.

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The Ontario charges relate to accusations that Cleroux fraudulently worked as a nurse at multiple health-care businesses, including a fertility clinic, a long-term care home and a dental clinic between February and August of 2021.

While working as a fake nurse, she administered medications, including injections, to patients, according to Ottawa police.

She had originally been charged in Ontario with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, obtaining by false pretense, uttering forged documents and personation to gain advantage.

Meanwhile, Cleroux faces charges in B.C. of fraud over $5,000 and personation to gain advantage, and she remains the subject of multiple active Vancouver police investigations.

Police allege she worked for a year at BC Women’s Hospital, between June 2020 and June 2021, while falsely using the identity of a real nurse.

It remains unclear how many patients Cleroux worked on in Vancouver, what her duties were or whether there were adverse outcomes relating to her work.

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At least one patient allegedly treated by Cleroux has come forward to say the accused was assigned to her as a perioperative nurse during treatment for endometriosis.

Health officials have not explained how Cleroux was hired using a fake name. The Provincial Health Services Authority, which operates the hospital, said it is “reviewing this matter fully” and that it was directly notifying affected patients.

Vancouver police say since the story went public, several women have come forward identifying themselves as possible victims, but have not said what additional charges they may recommend or how many people were potentially affected.

Cleroux’s next court appearance on the Ontario file is Feb. 7, while her next appearance on B.C. matters is scheduled for Feb. 9.

— With files from John Hua

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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