San Diego Scripps employee suspected of participating in COVID benefits theft program
San Diego-A former San Diego hospital employee is suspected of passing patient information to fraudsters trying to steal patient information. The benefits of COVID-19, According to a criminal lawsuit filed in federal court this month.
According to arrest warrants and other court documents obtained by FOX 5, former Scripps Health employee Matthew Lombardo was arrested on suspicion of wire fraud, serious identity theft, and misdisclosure of medical information.
Forbes first reported on the federal investigation on Wednesday.
Lombardo, Konrad Piekos, Ryan Genetti, and Dobrila “BeBe” Milosavlejevic are listed as defendants in the case. The complaint alleges that Lombardo used his position as a patient service representative—meeting with patients to confirm their identity and verify health insurance—to pass on these details to others.
Investigators say that Lombardo knows the name, age, date of birth, employment information and the reason people need medical care-they say it is enough to fill out benefits applications fraudulently.
In the complaint, the authorities listed a series of incidents in which Lombardo allegedly passed personal information to Piekos, “which in turn passed the information to Genetti and Miolsavljevic.”
The complaint alleges that this information was subsequently used to apply for pandemic-related unemployment benefits through the state’s Employment Development Department.
On Wednesday, a Scripps spokesperson confirmed that Lombardo had worked for the company for about two years and was fired in April last year.
“Mr. Lombardo is a patient service specialist hired by Scripps Health on-demand from May 13, 2019 to April 14, 2021. He was fired for some reason on April 14, 2021,” the spokesperson said in a statement Tell FOX 5. “Scripps attaches great importance to the responsibility of protecting patient privacy and is cooperating with government investigations.”
Investigators stated that the case began after the San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy stopped Piekos in October 2020 and found several loaded weapons and $40,000 in cash. Federal agents said that the traffic interception resulted in the issuance of search warrants on two Piekos properties and the discovery of more guns, drugs and a mobile phone belonging to Piekos.
The indictment stated that the search also confirmed Piekos’ connections with Genetti and Miolsavljevic and confiscated mobile phones believed to belong to them.
Investigators said that it was there that they found dozens of text messages between the organization, “discussing illegal distribution of drugs, guns, and plans to use other people’s personally identifiable information to obtain unemployment benefits.”
The focus of the plan is to ensure Pandemic unemployment assistance The complaint states that benefits are paid weekly to people who are directly unable to work due to COVID-19.
In July and August, the authorities accused Piekos and Genetti of successfully submitting fraudulent assistance applications for imprisoned persons-successfully obtaining US$8,100, US$25,000 and US$23,118 through EDD cards, which were successfully transferred to addresses belonging to Piekos .
The complaint stated that it was around these successful scams that the two began to cooperate with Lombardo, hoping to use his access to patient information to create more fraudulent claims. Investigators said that in exchange for patient details, Lombardo will receive part of the profit.
“if you need [a person’s initials] Social Security Number or anything I can extract [s— up] At work,” Lombardo texted Piekos on August 15, 2020.
According to the text messages copied in the complaint, the organization appears to be targeting patients in the most vulnerable stage of the disease.
“Look for alive, but it seems they will not succeed,” a text from Lombardo reads. “Yes, those will be better,” Picos replied.
In September 2020, EDD established a new identity verification process in response to Increasing fraud incidents, Which complicates the group’s plans.
In the end, investigators confirmed that the personal information found in Lombardo’s text messages to Piekos was used to apply for thousands of dollars in benefits, but in at least the three cases listed in the complaint, all claims were flagged and rejected.
Lombardo was still detained on Wednesday after his arrest warrant was issued on July 7. His next court appearance date is August 5.
Piekos was arrested as part of a preliminary investigation and remained detained as of Wednesday. According to Forbes, He has pleaded not guilty to the gun and drug charges, and has not yet pleaded the fraud charges.
According to Forbes, both Genetti and Milosavljevic, who were detained on Wednesday, did not contest the allegations.