News and Press Releases

Woman Worked for Medical Billing Company; Stole Credit Card Numbers Used in Fraud

January 26, 2007

YVON LAFAYE HENNINGS, 47, of Seattle, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to four months in prison and four months of home detention, three years of supervised release, and $18,098 in restitution for Conspiracy to Commit Access Device Fraud and Wire Fraud. HENNINGS admitted that she stole credit card information from her employer, a medical billing firm. The credit card information was for patients who had recently seen doctors at a hospital emergency room. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said HENNINGS victimized people who were already in physical pain, increasing their mental anguish and creating problems with their credit that took weeks to untangle.

According to records filed in the case, in late 2004 the Lake Forest Park Police started getting reports of unauthorized use of credit cards to purchase items over the internet. Many of the purchases were for gift cards that could be readily exchanged for cash. The victims had one thing in common: all had recently visited the Stevens Hospital Emergency room and had used their credit card for payment. The investigation revealed that YVON HENNINGS, an employee of the medical billing company MedData, had stolen the credit card numbers and other identifying information and had provided them to her brother Lennie Hennings. Lennie Hennings used the credit cards for about $20,000 worth of purchases. YVON HENNINGS pleaded guilty August 17, 2006.

Lennie Hennings pleaded guilty December 19, 2006, to Conspiracy to commit Wire Fraud and Access Device Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. In addition to any prison sentence for the conspiracy, Lennie Hennings faces a mandatory two year consecutive sentence for Aggravated Identity Theft when he is sentenced on March 16, 2007.

In asking for prison time for YVON HENNINGS, Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi noted that identity theft remains a significant problem in the Western District of Washington. “Ms. Hennings is a poster child for a growing problem in this district, the theft of personal identification information by insiders. Ms. Hennings’ crime is particularly egregious because she was often victimizing people who had already suffered some type of misfortune; patients who had used their credit cards to pay for emergency room medical services.”

The United States Attorney’s Office has a special working group assigned to prosecute Identity Theft cases using the Aggravated Identity Theft Statute passed by congress in 2004.

The case was investigated by the Lake Forest Park Police Department and the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.

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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