A husband and wife team were arrested for what Manhattan prosecutors described as a scheme that took advantage of more than 80 ill patients at Lenox Hill Hospital.
Kyle Steed, 30 and his wife Krystle, 30, allegedly used patient information to impersonate multiple emergency room patients, taking over accounts and making fraudulent charges.
In all, the couple made off with more than $300,000 in purchases using unassuming patients' accounts, and were attempting to make more than $1 million additional purchases before they got caught.
Kyle, who was employed at the hospital since 2011, during which time the Manhattan District Attorney's office said he accessed patient documents with full names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.
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Investigators said Kyle would then give the private information to his wife, who would use the private records to access the patients' financial accounts, avoiding security checks by any means necessary: pretending to be at a doctor's office to pay a bill, accusing service representatives of discrimination and bypassing individual representatives for more pliable ones.
"The conduct charged in this case is morally reprehensible," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement. "When a person is admitted to a hospital, the last thing that patient or their family members should be concerned about is whether their identity will be stolen."
The DA's office pointed to one particular case where Krystle took over an account within two hours of a patient dying.
Lenox Hill Hospital said it was still in the process of informing affected patients.
"Protecting the privacy of patient information is a top priority that we take very seriously," Lenox Hill spokeswoman Barbara Osborn said in a statement.
"The hospital continues to take aggressive steps to strengthen the security protocols we have in place to protect patient information."