CO: Uncovering the Identity trade business

Deborah Sherman reports:

When Brandon Michael rolled up a storage-unit door in Denver on New Year’s Day to sort through the contents he had just purchased at an auction, the young man expected to find the usual items he could later sell on Craigslist or eBay: tools, laptops and furniture.

Instead, Michael discovered boxes, filing cabinets and trash bags full of hundreds of U.S. passports, birth certificates, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and other documents — most stolen within the past two years.

He found St. Anthony Central Hospital records containing dates of birth, Social Security numbers and copies of the driver’s licenses of 150 patients who had been admitted into the emergency room or general surgery.

He found drug paraphernalia, pills and the printer used to make counterfeit documents.

[…]

Storage-unit receipts and bank statements show the storage unit was rented by Paul Simmons, a 46-year-old Denver man who has been convicted in Florida for grand theft, burglary and dealing in stolen property.

Simmons says he has nothing to do with the documents found in his storage unit, including the multiple driver’s licenses with his picture on them and information belonging to other drivers.

[…]

After 9News alerted St. Anthony about the patient records found in the storage unit, the hospital investigated.

Within 48 hours, the hospital says it tracked down the employee who accessed the records.

“This particular associate was confronted with this and the associate immediately confessed to the fact that they indeed had taken this information outside of our organization,” said St. Anthony chief executive Peter Makowski. “We are very, very regretful that this ever took place.”

The hospital fired the female employee late last month. She had worked there for five years and passed a criminal-background check and compliance tests, according to St. Anthony.

Hospital officials said they don’t know how the stolen records ended up in the storage unit.

Read more on Denver Post

Related – Centura Health statement

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