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Southfield woman among 11 metro Detroit residents arrested for identity theft

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published March 20, 2015

 Coleman was indicted for allegedly stealing patients’ identities and using them to open up credit cards at various stores.

Coleman was indicted for allegedly stealing patients’ identities and using them to open up credit cards at various stores.

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SOUTHFIELD — Resident Aramona Coleman, 56, was recently arrested for her involvement in an identity theft crime against 5,514 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network patients.

U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced March 10 that 11 people from the metro Detroit area have been charged with running identity theft and credit card fraud schemes.

Coleman, along with residents from Detroit, Woodhaven, Dearborn, Oak Park and Pontiac, was indicted for allegedly stealing patients’ identities and using them to open up credit cards at various stores.

According to the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division, Angela Patton, 47, of Belleville, worked for BCBSM from approximately July 2001 to June 2013, working in the Detroit office. There, Patton had access to computer systems and databases, including the ability to access the health information of patients.

In January 2012, Patton allegedly formed an agreement with a handful of individuals in which she received payments in exchange for obtaining and disclosing patients’ health information.

According to court documents, Sam Patton, 47, of Dearborn, recruited six residents, including Coleman, and provided them with counterfeit Michigan licenses in the names of BCBSM subscribers, whose information was printed without authorization by Angela Patton and Sam Patton.

The recruits were allegedly provided with counterfeit credit cards and credit reports in patients’ names and were instructed to travel to different states to apply for credit lines in the victims’ names at stores such as Lowe’s and Cabela’s.

On May 20, Coleman and two other people were arrested in Irving, Texas, during a search of a local hotel. Police found several BCBSM screenshots containing the personal information of subscribers from Michigan, and four Transunion credit reports matching the individuals from the screenshots, court documents said.

Coleman is facing one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of identity theft and one count of aggravated identity theft.

“We are pleased that assistance provided by our company’s investigative team was used to secure the arrest of these individuals, including our former employee,” Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of BCBSM, said in a prepared statement.

Loepp also said this type of behavior is not typical of BCBSM employees.

“I am personally saddened by this former employee’s involvement,” Loepp said. “Their alleged behavior in no way represents the ethical standards brought to work every day by our more than 7,000 employees, who are committed to serving our members with integrity and honesty,”

BCBSM officials said affected members of the security breach will be contacted by letter and offered two years of free credit protection services. They also recommend that members monitor their explanation of benefits statements and financial accounts for any services they did not receive, or any inappropriate or suspicious health care claims.

In the event that they notice any inappropriate activity, members are asked to contact the companies’ anti-fraud hotline at (800) 492-3787 from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

“Blue Cross and BCN are committed to protecting our members’ personal information,” CEO of Blue Care Network Kevin Klobucar said in a prepared statement.

Angela Patton’s attorney, Todd Perkins, said it was too soon to comment on the matter, since the case against his client is in its early stages.

“We haven’t gotten any discovery at this point other than a copy of the indictment, other than the allegations,” Perkins said. “As to what specificity or to how those come to rise, I think it’s premature at this point.”

A court-appointed attorney for Coleman could not be reached for comment by press time.

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