Tampa hospital employee accused of identity theft
A Tampa General Hospital employee is accused of stealing patient identities in an alleged tax refund scheme that netted more than $670,000.
Tigi Moore was arrested Wednesday morning on federal charges including conspiracy, wire fraud, identity theft and theft of government property.
Moore, who worked in medical records, is accused of accessing the information and passing it on to her brother Albert Moore and Florida juvenile justice probation officer Corey Coley, who were both arrested this spring. Coley was also accused of using identities from the juvenile justice system in the alleged tax fraud scheme.
Tampa has been a hot spot for the tax refund fraud crime, which involves using stolen identities to file fake tax returns and get large refunds of thousands of dollars from the government. Victims often do not find out their information was used until their “real” return is rejected if the fraudulent one is filed first.
Moore had worked at TGH since 1998 and was suspended without pay in October 2012 when the hospital learned about the law enforcement investigation, said TGH spokesman John Dunn. At that time, her access to hospital records was also cut off, he said. She will be terminated, he said.
“We are very, very serious about protecting patients’ confidentiality and the information they keep with us,” Dunn said.
The hospital is still working to identify who was affected, Dunn said, but affected patients are expected to be notified and offered free credit monitoring.
The investigation began last fall, said Corp. Bruce Crumpler, who heads up the tax fraud team at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. HCSO worked with the Internal Revenue service on the case.
“This specific case, I believe, is the ultimate case of betrayal for someone who is involved in a position of trust – someone in the medical field as well as someone who is a law enforcement officer,” Crumpler said.
TGH cooperated with the investigation, Crumpler said.
Suspects don’t have to be filing the fake returns themselves to be part of the conspiracy, face charges and face prison time.
“Co-conspirators are just as culpable for any illegal activity that arises out of activity as each co-conspirator,” said IRS Special Agent Casimir Tyska.
In federal court on Wednesday, Moore pleaded not guilty through an attorney. A federal magistrate said she could be released on a $20,000 signature bond.
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