Co-defendant in patient-ID theft scheme gets prison term

The co-defendant in an extensive identity-theft scheme that targeted hospital patients was sentenced today to two years and three months in prison. Linda D. Williams was the “inside” person for Richard Yaw Adjei, providing him with detailed personal information about hundreds of people who had their hospital bills processed through a Delaware company where she worked.

Williams, 32, apologized in court. Her defense attorney, Federal Public Defender Edson Bostic said that, at the time of the crimes, Williams was going through hard times and suffering from depression.

But Chief District Judge Gregory M. Sleet dismissed those excuses, noting Williams held a stable job and had a new place to live when she conspired with Adjei, and knew that she was taking the identities of vulnerable people.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Moskow-Schnoll said one victim recalled having to tell her 9-year-old child that she was suffering from a brain tumor and that there would be no Christmas presents that year because she didn’t have her tax-refund money to buy gifts.

{Many believe that electronic health systems will prevent insiders like office clerks from being able to steal information from our medical records. But today no federal laws require our permission before a clerk or a doctor can access our personal health records. Unless Congress makes ironclad consumer privacy control over health information the foundation of the digital health system, criminal identity thefts using data from our health records will massively increase. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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