NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Bronx couple is accused of stealing massive amounts of cash from Lenox Hill Hospital patients as part of an identity theft ring.
More than 80 emergency room patients at Lenox Hill Hospital had their personal information stolen. Prosecutors said they used the patient information to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars in high-end merchandise.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office said in once case, a patient died only two hours before the couple stole their identity.
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, Krystle and Kyle Steed, of the Bronx, were arraigned Wednesday afternoon.
How did they do it? Kyle Steed worked at the hospital and had access to names, birth dates, and social security numbers, Gainer reported.
“I think it’s disgusting,” said Friema Norkim, of the Bronx. “It doesn’t seem possible it could happen in a hospital. I mean, they must have some kind of preventative measures.”
“It’s not shocking given today’s climate. I don’t think anything is shocking,” said another resident.
“The hospital’s not doing their job. Someone’s not doing their job. First of all, why would you have someone like that here working here,” said Harlem resident Glenn Harris.
According to the 193-count indictment, Steed took the information between January 2014 and February 2015 and passed it along to his wife.
The DA said Krystle Steed then used the information to take over customer credit card accounts.
In some instances, she allegedly impersonated account holders and was able to get past security questions by claiming to be at a doctor’s office where she needed immediate access to pay a bill. If that didn’t work, the indictment said she would repeatedly place calls until she reached a service representative who would do what she asked.
After taking over the account, Krystle Steed allegedly placed phone orders for more than $300,000 in fraudulent high-end purchases, including designer bags. She also allegedly attempted to make more than $1 million in purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue.
“I was told there was a search warrant executed at their home and that there was a significant number of merchandise found..high-end merchandise,” said Steed’s public defender Glen Abolafia.
Grand larceny and identity theft are among the charges the couple is now facing.
Lenox Hill Hospital said the thefts were from paper records. They said Kyle Steed was hired at the hospital in 2011 and they suspended him without pay in April and he was subsequently fired.
The hospital said its working to notify patients who were affected and that it’s also working to strengthen its security protocols.
The couple is due back in court in January.