Former Pennsylvania Medical Assistant Charged with Stealing Patient Information for Personal Gain

By | November 16, 2022

A former employee of Axia Women’s Health in Pennsylvania has been charged in a 39-count indictment for stealing patient information for personal gain. The Upper Moreland Police Department in Montgomery County, PA, uncovered an elaborate scheme involving the theft of the identities of patients, which were used to obtain credit cards and loans, rent high-end apartments, and obtain several thousand dollars worth of furniture.

The investigation centered on Gwendolyn Murray of Philadelphia. Text messages were found on Murray’s cellphone that had been sent by Ashley Latimer, 34, of Philadelphia, which appeared to be screenshots of patient records. Ashley was determined to have sent the messages while working at AFC Urgent Care in South Philadelphia. Further investigation revealed Latimer had worked at AFC Urgent Care between September 16, 2021, and December 26, 2021, but was fired when she was suspected of stealing $3,200 from the cash drawer.

Latimer then found employment as a medical assistant at Axia Women’s Health, where she was given access to patient records to complete her work duties. While employed at Axia Women’s Health, Latimer used her cellphone to take photographs of patient records containing driver’s license numbers and other information, which were sent to Murray to create fraudulent customer accounts and obtain credit in the victims’ names. The stolen identities were used to create fraudulent accounts at Wayfair, Mattress Queen, Carvana, and Bob’s Discount Furniture.

The police seized Latimer’s cell phone and found 41GB of data that included text conversations with Murray along with photographs of computer screens and paper documents containing the personal information of patients of Axia Women’s Health, where Latimer was employed in the first and second quarters of 2022. The detectives also found images of Experian Credit Reports, lease applications, and applications and approvals for credit at Wayfair and Carvana in the names of Axia Women’s Health patients.

On November 10, 2022, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that Latimer had been arrested and charged for her role in the scam. The information stolen by Latimer was used to open credit cards and make purchases totaling more than $31,000. Latimer has been charged with 27 counts of identity theft, 7 counts of theft, 4 counts of computer theft, and one count of forgery.

“This defendant is accused of taking advantage of her position and violating her trust and responsibility as a medical professional,” said AG Shapiro. “We will not, under any circumstance, allow individuals to put patients at risk and compromise our Commonwealth’s health care systems.”

The post Former Pennsylvania Medical Assistant Charged with Stealing Patient Information for Personal Gain appeared first on HIPAA Journal.