Federal Jury Convicts Woman in ID Theft Case
Defendant Stole Identities From Medical Clinic and Used That Info to Obtain Food Stamp Benefits
DALLAS – Following a three-day trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn, a federal jury convicted Deborah Petty, 48, of Mesquite, Texas, on several identity theft offenses, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, yesterday afternoon, the jury convicted Petty on seven counts of identity theft and one count of aggravated identity theft. Each of the identity theft counts carries a maximum statutory penalty of fifteen years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. The aggravated identity theft count carries a $250,000 fine and a mandatory statutory penalty of two years in federal prison, consecutive to any other sentence Petty receives on Counts one through seven. Restitution could also be ordered. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
The government presented evidence at trial that Petty worked at the Western Regional Center for Brain and Spine Surgery (WRCBSS), a medical facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, between November 28, 2011, and June 29, 2012. In her position, and prior to her termination from WRCBSS, Petty obtained access to patient files, which included patients' names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. Petty understood and signed an acknowledgement that she would have access to confidential patient information and agreed that she would not disclose or share such information. Nonetheless, Petty stole hundreds of patient files and maintained possession of those files until May 2014, long after she left WRCBSS.
During the time in which she possessed these stolen identities, Petty used the identities in connection with a food stamp fraud scheme in the State of Florida. Approximately 110 individual patients from WRCBSS had food stamp benefits obtained in their name, totaling over $44,000 in losses to the government. Petty eventually moved to Mesquite and obtained new employment at another entity, Epic Healthcare Services, by overstating her qualifications and omitting her work at WRCBSS. In her new position, Petty again had access to patient identifiers and other personal information. In May 2014, the Mesquite Police Department recovered approximately 1,500 stolen identities possessed and maintained by Petty in an apartment in Mesquite.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Mesquite Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kate Rumsey and P.J. Meitl are in charge of the prosecution.
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