Check forgers steal thousands from patients at Boston hospital

A group of patients at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston have been hit by a network of thieves, who, using private checking account data and stolen identities, managed to take just under $3,000 from each of nine patients. The victims' checking accounts were robbed sometime between December 2007 and May of this year. (The victims have since been reimbursed by their banks.)

Law enforcement and hospital officials believe that the theft at New England Baptist was aided by an employee in the hospital's Spine Center. The hospital is sending out letters to each of the roughly 6,000 patients who have been treated at the Spine Center since December to warn them that they may be at risk. The letters advise the patients to monitor their banking records carefully and report any issues promptly. Meanwhile, law enforcement leaders believe the thieves may have hit other hospitals as well, and are continuing their investigation.

To commit the thefts at New England Baptist, officials believe that the hospital insider took bank routing and account numbers from patient checks, then used the information to print out counterfeit checks. The checks were made out to victims of identity theft, which allowed the thieves to cash the check. The checks were written for less than $3,000--a level at which many financial institutions require additional IDs or approvals--to make sure banks didn't pay undue attention to the checks.

To learn more about the thefts:
- read this article from The Boston Globe

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