IL: Trial in doubt for medical ID theft case

Way back when, I had written myself a note about a case in which five Indiana residents had been indicted on charges that related to an ID fraud conspiracy involving theft of patient information. According to the press release in December 2013 from the  U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana, the five individuals were indicted November 21, 2013  and were charged as follows:

  • Alexis Young: Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft; Aggravated Identity Theft; HIPAA Violation; Unlawful Use of Social Security Numbers
  • Angela Young: Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft; Aggravated Identity Theft
  • Cynthia Mullins: Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft
  • Montrease Young: Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft
  • Chavon Jackson: Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft

Although it was not indicated in the press release, Angela Young was also charged with HIPAA violations.

Although the case was entered in PACER (United States of America v. Young et al., 2:13-cr-00138-JVB-JEM-1), the indictment did not name the covered entity that had patient data stolen from it. The only details I could glean was that Angela Young was employed as a clerk at a medical facility in Illinois, and her position gave her access to patients’ identity information. The indictment also indicated that the crime occurred in Indiana, and involved conspirators using the patient information Angela Young obtained to open credit cards. The scheme ran from June 2007 – October 2009.

The total number of patients whose information was stolen was not disclosed.

With a court date approaching this month, there were two developments of note in the prosecution of Alexis Young.

On March 6, the government filed a notice of intent to introduce evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts under Federal Rules of Evidence 404(b).  According to the notice, the government may (but isn’t committed to) seek to admit evidence regarding:

  • State of Illinois arrest relating to fraud and the use of an individual’s information without the knowledge, authority, or permission of the victims.
  • State of Indiana arrest relating to fraud and the use of an individual’s information without the knowledge, authority, or permission of the victims.

The other development of note is that Alexis Young’s case has been severed from Montrease Young’s case. Inspection of court filings indicates that they both intend to point the finger at each other. With antagonistic defenses, Alexis Young’s attorney sought to sever the cases, noting that Montrease Young’s counsel would essentially be functioning as a second prosecutor and if the jury believed Montrease Young, it would impair Alexis Young’s defense. The court agreed to sever the trials.

Teresa Auch Schultz reports that both Alexis Young and Montrease Young, who are not related to each other, have been busy after defendant Angela Young agreed to plead guilty and become a cooperating witness for federal attorneys.

Angela Young and Alexis Young are half-sisters, Schultz reports.

But wait, it gets more complicated. Schultz reports that Montrease Young’s attorney has moved to dismiss the indictment against her client, because prosecutors turned over a lot of evidence too close to the trial date for her to review and prepare.

Schultz also reports that

Angela Young admitted in her plea deal that she used her position at a medical facility in Illinois to steal client information such as their credit card and Social Security numbers. She would then give this information to Alexis Young and Montrease Young, who would use the existing credit cards and open up new ones as well. The agreement said Angela Young was responsible for $250,000 to $400,000 in losses.

Read more on Chicago Tribune.  Angela Young’s plea agreement stated that in her position, she had access to patients’

names, dates of birth, social security account numbers (SSNs), drivers’ licenses, insurance cards, credit cards, checking accounts, and billing statements of the patients and their representatives, i.e. individuals who made payments on behalf of the patients at the medical facility.

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