Charges filed for stolen U records

By By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

Formal charges were filed Monday against two men arrested last week for stealing and possessing U Hospital billing records.

Shadd Dean Hartman and Thomas Howard Anderson face second-degree felony charges for theft by receiving stolen property and possession of other person’s identification documents, which is a third-degree felony.

Police announced July 2 that they had arrested two men and had a third man in custody for the possession of stolen U Hospital patient billing records, which were recovered July 1 and appear to not have been accessed.

Hartman, who was arrested July 2, was charged for allegedly stealing the billing records on June 2. Police said Hartman broke into the car of a courier hired by the U to transport backup 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 July 1 when it 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.

According to a statement issued by the U, the tapes were recovered in their original container. Police arrested Hartman around 300 West and 1100 South, said Sgt. Bruce Sternem at a press conference July 2.

Hartman, 37, was charged with possession of stolen property and unlawful possession of another person’s ID. 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. None of Hartman’s prior discretions involve identity theft.

Anderson, 52, was arrested July 2 around 2:30 p.m. for theft and an unrelated warrant, said police Lt. Paul Jaroscak.

According to Utah State Court documents, Anderson was responsible for implicating Hartman in the theft. Anderson, who was originally held in custody as a suspect, was booked into jail.

The jail is holding Anderson and Hartman at $25,000 bail each. Both men are scheduled to make their first court appearances today.

A third man is in custody of the sheriff’s department. Sheriff Jim Winder said police might make further arrests. However, none of those arrests will include the courier, who was identified in court documents as Kelly Record. Winder said the courier is an unfortunate victim in the case.

The three men were not aware of what was on the tapes until the media and law enforcement revealed it, Winder said.

However, it is unlikely that the tapes were accessed, since none of the men 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 10, the likelihood that they were accessed is probably a two, he said.

The tapes are currently in the local FBI. FBI agents are conducting an in-depth investigation into the condition of the tapes to determine whether or not they have been accessed. Prior to the transfer of the tapes, hospital personnel verified to the best of their knowledge that the tapes are the originals by the markings on the tapes, said Capt. 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 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 on July 1, 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 the $1,000 reward put out by the Sheriff’s Department 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 will receive the reward.

“The U received some criticism about the amount?but we set it,” Winder said. The sheriff congratulated the U last week 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.

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