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Christianity Today: Christians Stealing and Selling Your IDs to Criminals

Whited Sepulchers

Worker Charged in Christian Hospital File Thefts


An employee of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center was charged on Saturday in federal court in Manhattan with stealing nearly 50,000 patient files and selling some of them, according to a criminal complaint.

The worker, Dwight McPherson of the Bronx, was accused of stealing records as early as March 2006.

As a patient admissions representative at the hospital, Mr. McPherson, 38, had access to a patient information database. The stolen documents included patients’ names, phone numbers and Social Security numbers, but a hospital spokeswoman, Myrna Manners, said they probably did not contain medical information.

In February, federal postal inspectors seized more than 200 patient files from an unidentified location in Atlanta, court documents said. The files were given to officials at NewYork-Presbyterian, who traced them to Mr. McPherson, according to the complaint. The hospital suspended Mr. McPherson in February, the complaint said.

Mr. McPherson told investigators that in 2006, a man from Brooklyn offered him money in exchange for the personal information of male patients born between 1950 and 1970, according to the complaint.

He printed some of the records and sold roughly 1,000 files to the man, who was not identified in court documents, for $750, the complaint said. Mr. McPherson told investigators that he later sold another 1,000 patient documents to a different man.

The complaint does not indicate what, if anything, the stolen identities were used for. Ms. Manners said hospital officials were attempting to contact patients whose records were stolen.

Mr. McPherson was arrested on Friday and charged with one count of conspiracy involving computer fraud, identity document fraud, transmission of stolen property and sale of stolen property. Robert Walters, Mr. McPherson’s lawyer, said his client was not guilty. “His access to the computer obviously raises a lot of suspicions,” he said. “Who knows? This may be a little overblown.”

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