News

Hospital Employee Sentenced for Stealing Patient Information For Fraud Scheme


Baltimore Woman and Co-Schemers Took Social Security Numbers
and Related Information of 207 Victims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2009

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Michelle Courtney Johnson, age 31, of Baltimore, today to 18 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for stealing patient information to fraudulently obtain credit used to purchase merchandise and obtain cash, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Quarles also entered a judgement ordering Johnson to pay restitution of $203,627.11.

According to her plea agreement and court documents, from August 2005 to April 2007,
Johnson was a patient services coordinator at Johns Hopkins Medicine and used her employment to provide co-defendant, Shannell Bowser with the names, social security numbers and other personal identifying information of over 100 current and former patients of Johns Hopkins. Bowser was employed as a claims clerk with a medical insurance adjuster and also stole client personal identifying information. Johnson knew that Bowser used the stolen personal identifying information to apply for credit over the internet. The credit was used to withdraw cash from ATM machines and to purchase clothing, electronics and other items.

Purchases made online were delivered to the homes of Johnson, Bowser and their co-schemers, their friends and family, and to vacant homes. Johnson would hold items delivered to her home for Bowser to pick up, and kept some of the fraudulently ordered merchandise for herself, including a computer monitor, a cordless phone, and clothes for herself and her children.

Over the course of the scheme, Johnson and her co-schemers used stolen identifying information of at least 207 individuals in at least 373 applications for credit accounts from financial institutions. Of those applications, at least 125 fraudulent accounts were opened and used to make purchases in the names of 89 individual victims. At least $174,000 in retail goods and cash advances were purchased and obtained using the fraudulently opened credit accounts.

Shanell Angelia Bowser, age 30, of Baltimore pleaded guilty to the same offenses and was sentenced to five years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. Judge Quarles also entered a judgement against Bowser ordering her to pay restitution of $203,627.11.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office of Inspector General for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Paul E. Budlow and Rachel Miller Yasser, who are prosecuting the case.

 

 

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