EDMONDS — An Everett medical worker stole sensitive records from 39 patients, including elderly patients, to forge identities she then used to rent an apartment and buy two cars, according to unprofessional conduct charges filed by the Washington State Department of Health.
The woman, 37, has also been charged in a separate criminal case with identity theft from Swedish Hospital patients. The victims were in two distinct age groups: seniors in their 70s to 90s, and younger women who looked somewhat like the suspect, deputy prosecutor Halley Hupp wrote.
The defendant worked in the medical field since at least 2007. Prosecutors allege she committed the fraud while employed as a certified medical assistant for Swedish from Nov. 2018 to Dec. 2019.
In July 2019, the defendant used a patient’s personal information to buy a $51,000 car from a dealership in Bellevue, according to the DOH charges. The car was delivered to an address in Everett.
The dealership later learned the vehicle had been purchased under an assumed name. Employees checked their website and determined the woman had used another stolen identity — another Swedish patient, it turned out — to view car prices, according to the health department charges.
About three months later, the Swedish worker used another patient’s information to buy another car from a Mazda dealership in Lynnwood, according to criminal charges filed in Snohomish County Superior Court. The Mazda was delivered to an apartment in Lynnwood. It was valued at $25,000, the health department alleged.
In late November 2019, a Swedish patient contacted Brier police. She reported her Social Security number had been used to apply to rent apartments in Marysville and Everett.
Edmonds police served a search warrant at the Lynnwood apartment where the Mazda was delivered. They found the defendant’s belongings, including prescription drugs in her name, according to charges.
Days later, police found the car from the Lynnwood dealership. It had been parked outside an apartment in Everett, at another address associated with the suspect. Police impounded the Mazda, and noted it bore plates for a different car, a 2017 Audi registered to the suspect.
Officers asked the defendant how she was able to buy a car and rent an apartment in other people’s names. She responded that she “knew people” who told her how to do it, according to the criminal charges.
An employee at the Lynnwood dealership identified the defendant from a photo lineup, reporting that she was the person he delivered the car to.
The woman was arrested in late 2019. From the Snohomish County Jail, she made at least four phone calls to her ex-husband, according to the identity theft charges. She mentioned the specific name of a patient whose identity she allegedly had used to buy the Mazda.
She was released from jail when prosecutors did not file charges in 2019. Prosecutors moved forward in September 2020 with felony charges of first-degree identity theft, second-degree identity theft and motor vehicle theft.
Court staff sent letters to three addresses affiliated with the defendant, in Everett and Sedro-Woolley, notifying her she needed to appear in court for arraignment. She did not show up. A Snohomish County Superior Court judge issued a bench warrant for her arrest in December 2020.
The warrant appeared to be active as of Friday.
In the separate disciplinary case, the state Department of Health charged her in March, naming seven specific patients as victims. The woman’s health care certificate had expired almost a year earlier.
The state agency announced the allegations in a press release last week.
State records show the woman was certified as a nursing assistant from 2007 to 2010. After a three-year break, she was issued a medical assistant certificate in 2013.
In divorce papers from early 2019, the woman noted she had about $23,000 in car loan debt for yet another car, a Toyota Corolla.
Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterellen.