A New York woman admitted to defrauding 44 patients and seven nurses at INOVA Alexandria Hospital.
On Dec. 13, Beurn Daphne Ferdinand, 35, of Brooklyn, N.Y. pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The maximum potential sentence is 32 years imprisonment, and $1.3 million in fines. A sentencing hearing has been set for March.
According to federal prosecutors, Ferdinand conspired with a “care team specialist” in the intermediate care unit of the hospital to obtain the personal information — including Social Security numbers — of about 100 patients and employees at the hospital. She used the information to open and take over existing credit card accounts, stealing more than $200,000.
Many of the defrauded patients were older than 65, and several are now deceased. Prosecutors charged that Ferdinand and her accomplice used the credit card accounts to buy various items, including Cartier watches, an Omega watch, jewelry, flat-screen television sets, computer equipment and a home theater speaker system.
As part of her plea agreement, Ferdinand agreed to forfeit the items to the U.S. government and pay full restitution to the victim merchants and financial institutions. Alexandria City Police and the United States Secret Service investigated the case.
“This is an excellent example of local police working together with federal law enforcement agencies,” said Capt. John Crawford, commander of the Public Information Office of the Alexandria Police Department. “It also shows how serious financial crimes are and that even hospital patients could be victimized.”
Federal prosecutors are still investigating the alleged accomplice, Constance Occident, 45, of Maryland.
“The investigation is continuing,” said Sam Dibbley, a spokeswoman for the court.