News and Press Releases

Defendant Entered Virginia Mason Clinic After Hours and Stole Info from Patient Records

December 15, 2006

CHRISTOPHER MARK WILLIAMS, 26, of Seattle, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud and Mail Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. WILLIAMS admits in his plea agreement that through his identity theft scheme he is responsible for over $200,000 in losses. WILLIAMS’ sentencing is set before Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik on May 4, 2007.

According to the plea agreement, WILLIAMS admits he gained unauthorized access to Virginia Mason Medical Center from a Virginia Mason employee. Then WILLIAMS copied personal identifying information from patient files that were sitting out awaiting the next day’s appointments. WILLIAMS not only used the information for his own ID theft scheme, he also provided the information to others in exchange for a cut of the proceeds from their illegal use of the information. Using the personal information, WILLIAMS would transfer funds from victims’ bank accounts into the accounts of some of his co-conspirators. Additionally, WILLIAMS would sometimes pose as the account holder and report a change of address to the bank, asking that a new debit card and “pin” number be sent to a new address. WILLIAMS would then use the debit card to raid the victim’s account. The government estimates that WILLIAMS was personally involved in victimizing more than 25 account holders.

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Mail Fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, 5 years of supervised release and a fine of $1,000,000. Aggravated Identity Theft is punishable by a mandatory two year term of imprisonment, to be served consecutive to the sentence imposed for Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Mail Fraud.

The case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the FBI and the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Susan Loitz as part of the United States Attorney’s Office Working Group on Identity Theft.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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