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Four accused of stealing patient IDs at UMMC

A federal grand jury has indicted a former employee of the University of Maryland Medical Center and three others in what prosecutors say was a scheme to steal patients’ identities.

Officials say the indictment was unsealed Thursday following the arrests of the hospital worker, 47-year-old Kenneth Elliott McDowell, as well as 21-year-old Wendy Hinton and 54-year-old William White, all of Baltimore. Authorities were still seeking 20-year-old Devin Jarmal Smith of Baltimore at the time.

U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein says the defendants have been charged with preying upon seriously ill hospital patients and their families by using their personal information to access their credit accounts and open new ones.

The 17-count indictment alleges that McDowell provided financial and identity information of patients, and those who had agreed to pay for their medical treatment, to his co-conspirators between July 2009 and this June. The defendants allegedly used that information to open new credit, debit and checking accounts in the victims’ names, filed a change of address with the financial institutions, then had new cards and checks issued.

The defendants had an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Thursday and were released under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for conspiracy, as well as terms for other charges.