ID Theft Scheme Hits 400+ in Louisiana and Elsewhere

ID THEFT

The health care services division of Louisiana State University, which operates seven hospitals, has notified more than 400 individuals in 12 states following the arrest of an employee charged with using patient information to make counterfeit checks, according to local media reports.

Capitol News Bureau in Baton Rouge reports that a former billing employee, Pamela Reams, printed imaged checks from a hospital financial systems database and used information such as patient names, account numbers, driver’s license numbers or Social Security numbers to make counterfeit checks and use them at stores. The names of affected individuals were found during a search of Reams’ home.

Surveillance video shows Reams making purchases with three other women, according to The Town Talk in Alexandria. Reams was charged with 377 counts of identity theft and released on $60,000 bond. All total, seven individuals were charged, according to the newspaper. As of Dec. 26, LSU had notified 416 individuals but a spokesperson told the newspaper that more could be affected.

LSU issued a public statement on Dec. 26 that gave little information, but noted the scheme is believed to have begun in January 2012 and the university received notification from law enforcement on Nov. 14. The university is not offering affected individuals free credit and identity protection services, but encourages those affected to review their bank account statements for 2012 to determine if unauthorized checks were written against an account.

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