FL: Broward sheriff’s employee and Palmetto General Hospital employee among those indicted in fraud case (updated)
Erika Pesantes reports:
A Broward sheriff’s community service aide is part of a group accused of stealing people’s identities and filing fraudulent federal tax returns on their behalf to rake in cash.
Celia Cromer, 42, who was assigned to the regional traffic unit as a breath-alcohol technician in sheriff’s DUI cases, has been indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to defraud the government, submitting false claims to the government, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Read more on SunSentinel.
Of note, one of the other conspirators charged was Marlin Mejia, 28. Mejia was reportedly an employee at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah at the time, and allegedly stole patients’ personal information as part of the scheme. According to the indictment, on October 13, 2010 Mejia took a face sheet containing patients’ names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers for use in the tax refund fraud scheme.
The theft occurred a year after another Palmetto General Hospital employee, Jacquettia Brown, was sentenced for stealing patient information to further a credit card fraud scheme. The two cases appear unrelated.
Update1: Breaches have all kinds of consequences. One of the consequences of Cromer’s indictment is that every breathalyzer test she worked on is now suspect and many of the more than 100 prosecutions that relied on breathalyzer tests may now be thrown out.
Update2: On September 29, 2015, Marlin Mejia, 29, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $17,428.