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Hospital ID thief sentenced to 39 months

Feb 08, 2012 Karen Umpierre

Chelsea Catherine Stewart of Alabaster, Alabama, will serve the next 39 months behind bars for stealing the personal information of more than 4,000 patients at Trinity Medical Center in Birmingham, the Birmingham News reports. Stewart had been visiting a patient at the hospital between March 22 and April 1 of last year. During that time she allegedly stole information by climbing over a counter and obtaining patient names, birthdates and Social Security numbers. The files - most of which were in the form of surgery department logs - date as far back as 2006, when Trinity was known as Montclair Baptist Medical Center. When police used a warrant to search Stewart's home in April, they found "hundreds of pages" of documents containing the patient information, which she used to obtain a credit card convenience check and purchase items using false identity verification, notes the Shelby County Reporter. Stewart accepted a guilty plea and was charged with attempted bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and taking information under the federal health privacy law. As part of her plea agreement, three other charges against her were dismissed, according to the website for the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Alabama.