Suspects arrested for hospital record theft

By By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

Police announced Wednesday that they have arrested two men and placed a third man in custody for the possession of stolen U Hospital patient billing records, which were recovered Tuesday and appear to not have been accessed.

Shadd Dean Hartman, who was arrested Wednesday, will be charged for allegedly stealing the billing records June 2. Police said Hartman broke into the car of a courier hired by the U to transport back-up tapes containing billing records to a vault in Little Cottonwood Canyon. U Hospitals and Clinics announced June 11 that the billing records were stolen and sent out letters warning former patients of possible identity theft. The tapes included patient information dating back 16 years, including driver’s license numbers, physician names, insurance information, and Social Security numbers.

The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department was tipped about the records Tuesday when they received a call from someone who knew the three men in possession of the tapes. Detectives interviewed the informant, verified his story, and set up a meeting to recover the stolen property. No warrant was needed to recover the tapes.

The tapes were recovered about two and a half hours later. Police arrested Hartman around 300 West and 1100 South, said Sergeant Bruce Sternem at a press conference today. Hartman, 37, was charged with possession of stolen property and unlawful possession of another person’s ID, both of which are third degree felonies. He was also charged for an unrelated felony and misdemeanors, and booked into the Salt Lake County jail.

Hartman has a criminal record dating back to 1992, according to Utah court records.

Thomas Howard Anderson, 52, was arrested around 2:30 p.m. today for theft and an unrelated warrant, said Lieutenant Paul Jaroscak. Anderson, who was originally held in custody as a suspect, was booked into jail.

A third man is in the custody of the sheriff’s department. Sheriff Jim Winder said police might make further arrests.

The tapes were recovered in their original container, according to a statement issued by the U. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents will conduct an in-depth investigation into the condition of the tapes and determine whether or not they had been accessed.

The three men were not aware of what was on the tapes until the media and law enforcement revealed it, Winder said. None of them possessed the means or ability to access the information on the tapes, he said.

“I don’t know if they could find their rear end with both hands,” Winder said. On a scale of one to ten, the likelihood that they were accessed is probably a two, he said.

The tapes are currently in the possession of the sheriff’s department. Hospital personnel verified to the best of their knowledge that the tapes are the originals by the markings on the tapes, said Captain Teri Sommers of the sheriff’s department.

Christensen & Jensen Law Firm previously filed a suit against the U and the courier company over the incident.

The law firm is currently assessing whether or not to continue with its lawsuit against the U. If it is conclusively determined that the tapes were not accessed or duplicated in any way, the firm might drop the case.

“Our primary concern is (for the) sensitive information and correcting the problems that allowed this to happen in the first place,” said Karra Porter, a lawyer representing 13 plaintiffs in the claim. The suit, which was filed against the U yesterday, demands that the school do more to protect the patients who may be victims of identity theft as a result of the theft.

Porter had previously said the firm planned to pursue the suit even though the records had been found.

No patients have claimed identity theft so far.

Winder said that the $1000 reward put out by the sheriff’s office for the recovery of the tapes was likely a helpful factor in recovering the tapes. The money probably worked as an incentive for the outside individual who tipped off the detectives, he said. The sheriff’s department is still deciding who the reward will go to.

“The U received some criticism about the amount?but we set it,” Winder said. The sheriff congratulated the U for working very closely with their department throughout the entire investigation thus far, and said that they could not have done it without the U.[email protected]

Lennie Mahler

Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder answers questions during a press conference Wednesday about the recovery of stolen U hospital patient records.