ID Theft Ring Used Hospital Records For $300K Shopping Spree

Ten women are charged with using illegally obtained patient information from a Chicago-area hospital to rack up over $300,000 in fake credit card purchases at stores like Victoria’s Secret, Lowe’s and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry.

Here’s how prosecutors say it all went down. One of the women worked for a janitorial service hired to clean the offices of the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation. Taking advantage of the unlocked file cabinets, she would go through folders of private patient information at night, taking down all the info she and her merry band of cohorts would need to obtain credit reports or to have themselves added to the patients’ credit card accounts.

Police say she did this to upward of 250 different patient files.

If this were a movie, it would be at this point that the “me and my girlfriends go on a shopping binge” montage would kick in, because that’s exactly what they are accused of doing.

According to the charges, the women would do most of their shopping in suburban areas, where they could plead discrimination if questioned by a cashier.

In many cases, they were able to purchase big-ticket items like TVs, diamonds and… drywall just by using the credit card number alone.

The women are facing multiple charges, including felony theft, identity theft and organizing a continuing financial criminal enterprise.

This would be the point in the movie where they all start turning on each other.

Oh yeah, for what it’s worth, Northwestern Memorial Hospital says — in spite of all the above evidence to the contrary — that they take patient privacy “very seriously.”

Private patient information stolen from Northwestern used in massive identity theft [Chicago Sun-Times]