Lab Tech Charged with Stealing Patient Information and Using it to Apply for Credit Cards
LAS VEGAS, NV—A local woman who worked as a laboratory technician at a Las Vegas pediatric cardiology practice has been indicted by the federal grand jury on charges that she unlawfully obtained the personal identifying information of a patient and used it to apply for credit cards without the patient’s knowledge, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.
Sherice Joan Williams, 41, of North Las Vegas, Nev., is charged with one count of illegal use and disclosure of patient health information and one count of aggravated identity theft. At an arraignment on Oct. 27, Williams pleaded not guilty to the charges and was temporarily detained pending a hearing at 3:00 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen.
“Persons who work in the health care industry have special access to personal identifying and medical information, and have a responsibility and duty to protect and not use that information for fraudulent purposes,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “We will use the available federal health care fraud and identity theft laws to prosecute persons who knowingly and willingly violate them.”
According to the allegations in the indictment, between about Dec. 1, 2014, and Jan. 27, 2015, Williams, while working as a laboratory technician at the health care provider, knowingly and without authorization, accessed the health and personal identifying information of a patient and applied for personal credit cards with the information.
If convicted of the charges, Williams faces up to 10 years in prison on the health information charge and a minimum of two years consecutive on the aggravated identity theft charge, plus maximum fines of $250,000 on each count.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and Henderson Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Crane M. Pomerantz.
If you think someone is using your personal information to open accounts, file taxes, or make purchases, visit www.IdentityTheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft.
This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.com.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.