Mount Pleasant Speech Therapist Sentenced to Over 9 Years in Federal Prison for Health Care Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
Contact Person: Brad Parham (843) 665-6688
Florence, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Lauren E. Blackwell, age 29, of Bishopville, South Carolina has entered a guilty plea in federal court in Florence, to identity theft, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7). United States District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks of Florence accepted the guilty plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established that while working as a nursing assistant at a health care facility, Blackwell gained access to personal identifying information, including dates of birth and social security numbers, of co-workers and patients at the hospital. She then used this information to apply for unauthorized credit card accounts associated with the stolen identities. Additionally, while a student, she was able to obtain similar personal identifying information of other students which she used to open other credit card accounts. She was successful in opening 15 such unauthorized accounts, several of which she used to charge thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise.
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty for identity theft is imprisonment for 15 years and/or a fine of $250,000.
The case was investigated by agents of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney A Bradley Parham of the Florence office is prosecuting the case.