Breach, Data Security

Thousands of Montefiore patients notified of breach, eight suspects indicted

A former employee with New York-based Montefiore Medical Center was indicted along with seven others on Friday for their alleged roles in an operation to steal patient data and use the information to purchase thousands of dollars in goods at retailers and department stores throughout Manhattan.

Montefiore Health System announced on Friday that 12,517 patients had personal information – including names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, next of kin information, and health insurance details – compromised by the former employee between January 2013 and June 2013.

According to a release posted to the New York County District Attorney's Office website, Monique Walker, a former assistant clerk in one of the hospital wings, allegedly printed the personal information daily and passed it along to a codefendant for as little as $3 per record.

Fernando Salazar, named in the indictment as the leader of the operation, is accused of purchasing at least 250 pieces of information from Walker and distributing it to others who allegedly used the information to open credit card accounts and purchase gift cards at a variety of locations, including Barneys New York, Macy's, Victoria's Secret, Zales, Bergdorf Goodman, and Lord & Taylor.

“In total, the alleged actions are estimated to have caused more than $50,000 in fraud,” the release said.

Walker, Salazar, Patricia Charles, Lawrence Davenport-Brown, Charde Lawrence, Ashly Garrett, Sasha Rivera, and Crystal White are charged with grand larceny in the second and third degrees, identity theft in the first degree, and criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, as well as other charges.

Montefiore Health System is notifying all potentially affected patients, and is offering them identity theft protection and credit monitoring services. Montefiore is expanding its technology monitoring capabilities and its employee training on safeguarding and accessing health records.

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