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Albany Med nurse accused of identity theft
ALBANY -- A nurse at Albany Medical Center and her boyfriend were arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing identities of more than 50 people, many of whom were patients.
Suzette Guzman-Moore, 45, worked to check people in at the hospital. Police say part of her job was to print off labels with patient names, address and date of birth. The labels were then placed on charts, prescriptions and tags.
Guzman-Moore is accused of printing off an extra label and then handwriting patient social security numbers. She would then allegedly take them home where her live-in boyfriend Emmitt Woods, 25, would set up credit card accounts.
Police do not believe any medical information was compromised.
In this environment there's always a certain amount of persona information. I'm not going to sit here and say this can't happen tomorrow, I will tell you we take this seriously, said Noel Hogan, Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at Albany Medical Center.
Police say Guzman-Moore was attending school to becoming a registered nurse. Part of her training required her to go to several facilities in the area. Investigators are still reviewing the list of names to determine where the others may have received care.
This is the ultimate invasion of privacy. People who work their entire lives to establish their credit and keep their name clean and go out and make purchase. A lot of that has just been jeopardized by her lack of judgment, said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.
Federal law required hospitals and health care facilities to protect patient privacy. Albany Medical Center says it is required to obtain personal information from patients to process insurance claims and for business purposes.
Hogan said this is the case of an individual person not following procedures.
Whether its through cameras in place observing the individual or other means, something needs to be in place that obviously was missed here, said Dan Persing with Tully Rinckey, PLLC. We're all getting used to just giving that information and we need to ourselves look at how to answer questions, forms and give out that information.
Police in the city of Albany say they arrested Woods for forging checks in 2011. State inmate records show he was sentenced to 0-6 years in state prison.
In this case, deputies say Woods and Guzman-Moore had credit cards and checks sent to at least three addresses in Albany County. They would then use them to purchase gift cards.
During a news conference Thursday morning, Sheriff Apple showed several laptops, smartphones and applications that were collected during a search of the apartment shared by Guzman-Moore and Woods. Forensic experts are reviewing the hard drives to collect evidence.
Deputies also discovered paperwork from the County Coroners Office that they think may indicate the two attempted to use the identities of the deceased.
It's an investigation that's going to be like a spider web, said Apple. That's why we wanted to get this information out quickly and we can fall back and continue to sift through the names.
The Sheriff's Office is asking the public to review their credit history to look for irregularities. Anyone who believes they may have been a victim as the result of a visit to a healthcare facility is urged to contact the Albany County Sheriff's Office at (518) 720-8075.