Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to stealing hospital patients' identities for use in tax fraud scheme

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PHILADELPHIA — A Delaware County man pleaded guilty Thursday to charges arising out of his theft of personal identifying information of hospital patients.

Reynaldo Estrada, 50, of Brookhaven, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit identity theft, aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting the use of a false social security number. Estrada faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison at his July 31 sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg.

Between October 2010 and October 2011, while he was working for Crozer Chester Medical Center's Environmental Services Department and at Community Hospital in Chester, Estrada stole scores of treatment authorization forms containing the names, addresses, dates of birth and social security numbers of patients. Estrada admitted that he gave the forms to co-conspirators Rafael Henriquez Polanco and Yanira Lopez, who paid him for the stolen identities, knowing that the forms would be used as a part of a tax fraud scheme. Polanco and Lopez are charged in a separate indictment with using the identifying information provided by Estrada to prepare and file approximately 144 false and fraudulent federal individual income tax returns claiming bogus refunds in excess of $1.7 million. Both Polanco and Lopez have pleaded guilty to all charges against them.

The guilty plea follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), IRS Criminal Investigations, U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.

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