Couple sentenced for stealing patients’ identities

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

A pair of identity thieves convicted of stealing personal information of 1,400 Metro Detroit hospital patients were each sentenced to prison for the scheme, according to court records.

Markitta Washington, 30, of Hampton, Georgia, and formerly of Farmington Hills, and Martez Lear, 30, of Farmington Hills were sentenced Dec. 21 to 47 months and 56 months, respectively. Each pleaded guilty in July, according to court documents.

The pair used hospital patient’s information to receive nearly $500,000 in phony tax return refunds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Washington, a former employee of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital and DMC Harper Hospital, took patient records and used the information to file false tax returns in other people’s names, according to officials.

Authorities searched the home Washington and Lear shared and recovered the personal information of 1,400 people, including names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers. Authorities also recovered re-encoded credit cards and gifts cards.

Washington and Lear filed false tax returns with the information of at least 305 victims during the 2011 and 2012 tax years, receiving about $489,000. Most of the refunds were received through prepaid debit cards, officials said.

Both were indicted in November 2014. Washington was arrested in Georgia. During the time of the indictment Lear was serving a sentence in a Michigan prison for gun-related charges.

The couple has two children together, according to court documents.

In addition to their prison sentences, Washington and Lear were each ordered to pay $489,883 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

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