Eleven Individuals Charged With Stealing And Fraudulently Using Personal Information Of Blue Cross Blue Shield Subscribers
Eleven individuals from metro-Detroit have been charged with running identity theft and credit card fraud schemes, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Marlon Miller, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Jeffrey Frost, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Detroit Field Office and Chief Michael Patton, West Bloomfield Police Department, Southeast Michigan Financial Crimes Task Force.
Indicted for multiple counts of identity theft-related crimes were:
- Angela Denise Patton, 47, Belleville, MI
- Sam Oscar Patton, 47, Dearborn, MI
- Dontez Patton, 23, Woodhaven, MI
- Johnathon Weston, 24, Detroit, MI
- Charlie Smith, 47, Detroit, MI
- Thomas Turner, Sr., 47, Detroit, MI
- Aramona Coleman, 56, Southfield, MI
- Tynekwa Hill, 26, Pontiac, MI
- Jeffrey Morton, 41, Oak Park, MI
- Verdell Kennedy, 45, Detroit, MI
- Raymond Thomas, 40, Oak Park, MI
According to the indictment, Angela Patton, who worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), printed screen shots containing subscribers’ profiles, including Personal Identifying Information (PII), and gave them to other individuals who used that information to apply for credit in other people’s names and purchase merchandise in stores across the country. Co-conspirators were arrested in Texas, Ohio and Michigan in possession of BCBSM screen shots coming from Angela Patton’s work computer as well as counterfeit identification cards and credit cards in the names of individual subscribers whose personal information was included in those screen shots.
Agents recovered additional screen shots that included personal information belonging to thousands of BCBSM and Blue Care Network subscribers while executing search warrants at co-conspirators’ homes in metropolitan Detroit. The information included individuals’ names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers. Counterfeit and re-encoded credit cards and gifts cards were also recovered. The indictment alleges that three of the co-conspirators who used counterfeit credit cards at different major stores and warehouses fraudulently obtained more than $742,000 worth of merchandise from Sam’s Club alone.
United States Attorney McQuade, stated, "Criminals should know that while technology has made it easier than ever for them to commit identify fraud, technology is also making it easier for law enforcement to catch them. We are making enforcement of identity theft a high priority because this crime has become so pervasive and can be so damaging to victims.”
“An individual’s personal information has significant value on the black market, which is why the threat of data breaches and identity theft remain at an all-time high,” said Marlon Miller, HSI special agent in charge. “Over the last decade, we’ve seen a steady increase in crimes like this which is why HSI continues to prioritize and increase the quality and complexity of our investigative efforts to combat them.”
“As reflected by the indictments, United States Secret Service in Detroit—along with our federal, state and local partners—remains dedicated to the pursuit and apprehension of those responsible for these serious identity theft cases,” stated Jeff Frost, Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service Detroit Field Office. “The continued, multi-jurisdictional collaboration between law enforcement resulted in the indictment of these individuals for their involvement in these crimes, and we will maintain our resolve as we continue to thoroughly investigate this case.”
"The entire West Bloomfield community is grateful for the great law enforcement partnership that has led to the continuing federal indictments related to these very serious crimes. As the investigation continues, this partnership remains devoted to bringing everyone that played a role in these incidents to justice," said Chief Michael Patton.
“Our company is determined to thoroughly investigate alleged fraud, and work hands-on with law enforcement to bring perpetrators of fraud and identity theft to justice,” said Gregory W. Anderson, vice president for Corporate and Financial investigations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “We salute the task force for these arrests, and for their diligent efforts to help Blue Cross protect our members’ personal information and privacy.”
If policy holders notice any inappropriate activity on their Explanation of Benefits statements, BCBSM and BCN ask members to contact the companies’ Anti-Fraud Hotline at 800-482-3787, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The case was investigated by the Southeast Michigan Financial and Cyber Crimes Task Force, which is based at the Novi Police Department and includes U.S. Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and IRS Criminal Investigations agents, as well as state and local law enforcement officers from the West Bloomfield, Novi, Royal Oak, Southfield, and Troy Police Departments.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abed Hammoud with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit.An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.