Fla. Hospital Secretary Involved in Massive Patient ID Theft Case

The secretary is accused of stealing patient information and giving it to accomplices to commit tax fraud.

A former Florida hospital secretary was one of more than 100 people charged in connection to a series of identity theft cases announced Tuesday.

Jackson Health secretary Evelina Sophia Reid has been charged with 14 counts of computer fraud, identity theft and possession of patients’ personal information, reports securityinfowatch.com.

Reid was one of 104 people that U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer announced federal charges against in a press conference where he referred to Florida as “the epicenter of identity theft.”

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Ferrer says the defendants were involved in identity fraud schemes that compromised the personal information of more than 30,000 people and used that information to attempt to steal more than $60 million.

Reid, who had worked as a hospital unit secretary at Jackson Health since 2005 before being terminated last year, is accused of stealing patient records from health system computers and giving that information to people who filed fraudulent tax returns for those patients.

Amid suspicions in February of last year, Reid was suspended and her access to hospital facilities and patient records was revoked.

Since Reid’s termination, hospital administrators have added safeguards to its information security systems to prevent privacy breaches, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Piedra. Jackson Health employees also completed additional training on patient privacy last year.

All affected individuals have been notified and Jackson Health has offered to pay for credit monitoring services.

Ferrer says hospitals and schools in the state need to improve their online information security systems.

“They need to have robust safeguards to make sure this type of information is not so easily accessible,” Ferrer says.

Jackson Health, which is Miami-Dade’s public hospital system, has an estimated 11,000 employees.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officials formed the South Florida Identity Theft Fraud Strike Force in 2012 to respond to a rise in tax fraud scams.

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