Psychiatric patients’ IDs stolen by hospital worker, feds say

Psychiatric patients’ IDs stolen by hospital worker, feds say

Curtis Fullwood’s job was to help patients with mental health problems find work they could do in the South Florida State Hospital in Pembroke Pines, but instead, authorities say, he stole their identities.

Fullwood, 57, and his cousin, Terri Davis, 45, have pleaded not guilty to a federal indictment charging them with conspiracy to commit identity theft, conspiring to disclose individual’s health information, access device fraud, wrongful disclosure of health information and aggravated identity theft.

The two are accused of working together to steal individual patients’ names and social security numbers to file fraudulent income tax returns between September of last year and April, investigators said.

Fullwood obtained patients’ information by illegally using computers at the Pembroke Pines psychiatric hospital to steal the identities of people who were admitted for treatment, according to court records. The two suspects had identifying information for more than 1,000 people without their permission, FBI agents wrote.

Both men are free on bond pending the outcome of the case. Fullwood is on unpaid leave from his job and a judge ordered him not to work in any role that would give him access to other people’s Social Security numbers.

“Due to the ongoing nature of this case, we’re unable to comment at this time; however we can confirm that Mr. Fullwood has been placed on leave without pay pending the outcome of the case, and our company is cooperating fully with the investigation,” David Meehan, a spokesman for GEO Care LLC, a private company in Boca Raton that runs the state hospital, wrote in an email Tuesday.

Fullwood’s lawyer said he had no comment after a brief court hearing Monday in federal court in West Palm Beach.

Fullwood has worked for the hospital for more than 12 years and “his current responsibilities include assisting psychiatric patients at South Florida State Hospital to obtain jobs within the hospital,” agents wrote.

Most of the patients at the hospital, at 800 East Cypress Drive in Pembroke Pines, are involuntarily admitted for mental health treatment there at the request of Florida’s Department of Children and Families, according to court records.

Davis and Fullwood came under suspicion when Davis turned over some of the patients’ identities to an informant who was working under cover with the FBI, agents wrote. The meeting was secretly recorded, records show.

Davis reportedly told the informant the information came from “the dude in the hospital” and that “he gonna get some more today.”

GEO Care workers checked their computer records and found that Fullwood was the only employee who viewed patient admissions reports on their computers on the dates in question.

The most serious offenses carry a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison and fines of $250,000, records show.

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