An employee of the Northeast Texas Public Health district was arrested earlier this month for allegedly stealing the identities of hundreds of patients at a Mount Pleasant clinic she worked for before moving to Tyler.
Some of the property Ms. Patino purchased with the credit cards was recovered, along with stolen credit cards, immunization records and other documents with the names of clients or family members and social security numbers.
“In coordination with law enforcement, the Texas Department of State Health Services is investigating the actions of a former DSHS Mount Pleasant clinic employee who is alleged to have fraudulently used credit card and other personal information from local clients and colleagues to make recent purchases,” Carrie Williams, director of media relations for DSHS, said in a prepared statement.
George Roberts, chief executive officer of the NET Health, said Ms. Patino’s victims appear to be limited to the people who received services at the Mount Pleasant clinic.
Ms. Patino was an employee for the DSHS for almost five years. After NET Health took over responsibility of the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program from DSHS on Oct. 1, Ms. Patino was transferred to Tyler, Roberts said.
He said allegations about Ms. Patino’s actions at the Mount Pleasant clinic were brought to their attention, they investigated and fired her before her arrest.
Ms. Williams said several hundred people have been identified so far as possible victims and DSHS will be notifying them. “It is unclear whether the matter involves only recent patients, or whether older records were accessed,” she said. “There is no indication at this time that clients receiving DSHS services in other parts of the state were affected.”
People who received services at the Mount Pleasant clinic and believe they may be the victims of identity theft are urged to contact credit bureaus to review their histories and evaluate whether a fraud alert or credit monitoring is warranted, Ms. Williams said.
The credit bureaus are Equifax at 877-478-7625; Experian at 888-397-3742; and TransUnion at 800-680-7289. Potential victims can also contact DSHS at 800-350-6029 for more information.
“If people find evidence that their personal information has been misused, they should notify local law enforcement,” Ms. Williams said.
She said DSHS is also offering free credit monitoring and identity theft services for people whose personal information was found in the possession of Ms. Patino without authorization.