416 LSU patients notified of possible ID theft

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The LSU hospital system has notified 416 patients that their checking account numbers and other personal

information on checks paid to hospitals has been stolen.

The LSU Health Care Services Division began notifying patients in November, after learning about the identity thefts from

state police, spokesman Marvin McGraw said in an email Wednesday.

Sheila Seal, an employee at the LSU hospital

in Bogalusa, and her husband, Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal,

have said

counterfeit checks totaling $2,500 were written on their account.

Capt. Tommie Sorrell told The Daily News of Bogalusa that

$25,000 was taken from 19 people in Washington Parish.

Patients' bank account numbers and other information on the checks scanned into hospital system records were used to make

counterfeit checks and ID cards, said Trooper Jared Sandifer, a Louisiana State Police spokesman.

People notified by LSU should check their

credit history and review this year's bank statements for unauthorized

checks, reporting

any they find to their banks and to LSU at 1-800-735-1185.

Sandifer did not know the total amount

bought with counterfeit checks in stores throughout Louisiana and in

Mississippi, Alabama

and Florida. Almost all the counterfeit checks used the name of

someone who had paid an LSU hospital or doctor by check. Most

live in Louisiana but some live in 12 other states, police have

said.

Former billing department employee Pamela Reams was booked in November with 377 counts of identity theft and is free on $60,000

bond. State police said Washington Parish sheriff's detectives first identified her and three other women on surveillance

video that allegedly showed them buying items with counterfeit checks at several Washington Parish stores.

A total of seven people were booked with identity theft. Some were released without bond; bonds for others range from $5,000

to $26,000.

Information taken from the checks may have included checking account, driver's license, and Social Security numbers, date

of birth, and other information, McGraw said.

LSU said the hospital system has re-evaluated policies and procedures about employee access of patient confidential information.

It also is investigating to find a starting

date and checking computer access reports to see if any other patients'

information

may have been inappropriately accessed, McGraw said. "It's a slow

process, but if that's found to be the case, those patients

will be notified," McGraw said in his email.