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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
December 09, 2015

DA VANCE AND POLICE COMMISSIONER BRATTON ANNOUNCE CHARGES AGAINST ID THIEVES WHO PREYED ON LENOX HILL HOSPITAL PATIENTS

Defendants Charged in 193-Count Indictment With Using Stolen Information to Make $1 Million in Attempted Purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and New York City Police Department Commissioner William J. Bratton today announced the indictment of KYLE STEED, 30, and KRYSTLE STEED, 30, for stealing the personal information of Lenox Hill Hospital patients, taking control of victims’ bank accounts, and placing fraudulent orders for hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of designer merchandise at luxury retailers. The defendants are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Attempted Grand Larceny in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, and Identity Theft in the First Degree, among other charges.[1]

“Identity thieves will stop at nothing to ‎steal your personal information,” said District Attorney Vance. “The conduct charged in this case is morally reprehensible. When a person is admitted to a hospital, the last thing that patient or their family members should be concerned about is whether their identity will be stolen. My Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau has a proven track record of successfully prosecuting dozens of insiders for this type of fraud.”

“This scheme is especially disturbing considering the vulnerability of the victims, some of whom suffered from serious illness and were unable to protect their personal information from being exploited,” said Commissioner Bratton. “I commend the work of the investigators of the Bronx Grand Larceny Squad and the prosecutors of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office whose hard work identified these individuals and is bringing them to justice.” 

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, between January 2014 and February 2015, KYLE STEED stole the personal information of more than 80 emergency room patients while employed by Lenox Hill Hospital, where various records containing patients’ names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers could be accessed. KYLE STEED provided the stolen information to his wife, KRYSTLE STEED, who used the information to take over customer credit card accounts at Bank of America and American Express through a variety of methods, including the impersonation of legitimate account holders. 

In some instances, KRYSTAL STEED was allegedly able to circumvent security questions by claiming to be at a doctor’s office where she required immediate access to a credit card number to pay a bill; stating that she was doing holiday shopping with grandchildren and demanding that fraud prevention measures be lifted; becoming combative with customer service representatives and accusing them of biased treatment; and repeatedly placing calls inquiring about the same account in order to reach service representatives who were more susceptible to her methods of bypassing security questions. 

After assuming control of a victim’s bank account—a process commonly known as an account takeover—KRYSTLE STEED used victims’ information to place fraudulent phone orders for hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of designer merchandise, such as $6,000 Chanel handbags, from Saks Fifth Avenue and other luxury retailers. In total, KRYSTLE STEED used stolen patient information to make more than $300,000 in fraudulent purchases, and attempted to make more than $1 million in additional purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue. 

In at least one instance, a patient died at Lenox Hill Hospital only two hours before KRYSTLE STEED took control of the patient’s bank account and began making fraudulent charges. Pending the investigation, KYLE STEED’s employment was suspended and subsequently terminated by Lenox Hill Hospital.

In similar but unrelated cases, earlier this year, eight members of an identity theft ring—including a Montefiore Medical Center employee—were arrested and indicted for stealing and using patients’ personal identifying information to purchase consumer goods at department stores and retailers in Manhattan. Last year, an individual was also indicted for filing fraudulent federal and state tax returns using personal information stolen from residents and fellows employed by the New York University Langone Medical Center; the defendant was later convicted of Identity Theft in the First Degree and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree and sentenced to 1-to-3 years in state prison.

Assistant District Attorneys David Neeman and Daniel Haier are handling the prosecution of KRYSTLE and KYLE STEED’s cases, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Tracy Conn and Jeremy Glickman, Deputy Bureau Chiefs of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Brenda Fischer, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Kenn Kern, Chief of Staff of the Investigation Division, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Cybercrime Analysts Christina Chen, Margaret Lovric, and Lilianna Rembar also assisted with the investigation.

District Attorney Vance thanked the NYPD, and in particular, Detective Peter Sganga and Police Officers Frank Cleri and Arelis Dubose, of the NYPD Bronx Grand Larceny Squad, as well as Lenox Hill Hospital, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bank of America, and American Express for assistance and cooperation with the investigation.

Defendant Information:

KRYSTLE STEED, D.O.B. 12/31/84
Bronx, NY

Charged:

  • Attempted Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 3 counts
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, 55 counts
  • Identity Theft in the Second Degree, a class E felony, 73 counts
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 60 counts

KYLE STEED, D.O.B. 1/3/85
Bronx, NY

Charged:

  • Attempted Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 3 counts
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, 55 counts
  • Identity Theft in the Second Degree, a class E felony, 73 counts
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 60 counts

 

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