Scripps employee allegedly stole personal info of dying patients for fraud scheme

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A former Scripps Health employee was arrested July 12 for allegedly stealing personally identifying information of dying patients as part of an identity theft scheme, according to a July 21 Forbes report. 

Police believe Matthew Lombardo was recruited into the criminal scheme in August 2020 while working at San Diego-based Scripps part time as a patient services specialist. In a statement to Becker's, Scripps said Mr. Lombardo was employed on an as-needed basis from May 13, 2019, to April 14, 2021. 

"He was terminated on April 14, 2021, for cause," the health system spokesperson said. "Scripps takes its responsibility for protecting patient privacy very seriously and is cooperating with the government investigation." 

The Justice Department claims that Mr. Lombardo in 2020 took personal information from patients who were dying, including their names, Social Security numbers, birthdays and addresses, and passed it onto individuals who could steal patients' identities and file fraudulent benefits claims such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, according to the report. 

As part of the alleged scheme, Mr. Lombardo reportedly would share who he thought were good targets for the fraud, including a homeless woman and a man who recently died from a heart attack, according to the Justice Department's warrant. 

In its search warrant complaint, the government wrote that fraudsters are targeting people who are incarcerated or dead to steal pandemic-related benefits. "Persons committing PUA fraud will often seek out [personally identifying information] from black market databases that market stolen PII as well as seeking out PII from prisoners and deceased persons who are not eligible to claim PUA benefits," according to the complaint.

 

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