Nurses Leverage Privileged Access to Commit Identity Theft

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In several recent cases nationwide, nurses have used their access to patient and employee information to commit identity theft.

KPRC reports that Toni McGragh Terry, 44, a Houston, Texas-area nurse, was recently arrested and charged with stealing personal information and using it to open credit cards in the victims' names (h/t DataBreaches.net).

"She is hired on as a contract worker with hospitals, she's a home health nurse and she has access to not only employee information but patient information as well," Lakeview Police Department officer Tangie Beaton told KPRC.

According to Beaton, one of Terry's colleagues told the police somebody had opened a credit card in her name without her knowledge -- the police traced the scam back to Terry, who was found with a dozen pieces of other people's identification in her possession.

The Gaston Gazette reports that Deborah Costner Taylor, 49, a nurse and pastor's wife in Belmont, North Carolina, recently pled guilty to identity theft and obtaining property by false pretense (h/t PHIprivacy.net).

While working as a nurse at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia, North Carolina in 2013, Taylor offered to help two members of her husband's congregation with their medical issues.

She then made purchases using the man's credit card, wrote checks to herself using the woman's bank account, and opened a credit card in the woman's name.

And in Lee County, Florida, home health care nurse Lynn Schlosser was arrested when investigators found that she had opened credit card accounts in the names of eight patients (h/t PHIprivacy.net).

WINK News reports that Schlosser used the credit cards to buy iPads and DVDs, and spent more than $1,400 on tires, brakes and a battery. Schlosser is married to Lee County Deputy Michael Schlosser, who's now on administrative leave pending he outcome of an investigation.

In Canada, a recent editorial in the Toronto Star noted that nobody has ever been successfully prosecuted under Ontario's Personal Health Information Protection Act (h/t PHIprivacy.net).

"The inevitable conclusion here is that the justice system lacks a willingness to pursue such violations," the newspaper suggested. "They don’t seem a priority."

Further south, arrests and convictions are pursued, but the violations keep coming.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.