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Latoya Talbert charged with stealing IDs from hospital patients, DA says

A Brooklyn woman who failed to show up for court in a major identity theft case was caught on a traffic violation and indicted in a scheme involving data stolen from more than 100 Nassau hospital patients, Nassau County prosecutors said Friday.

Latoya Talbert, 24, was a member of a ring that several years ago used the names of patients at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset to go on shopping sprees, the Nassau district attorney's office said.

Nassau police initially arrested Talbert in June 2011 at Bloomingdale's in Roosevelt Field, where she had patients' information sheets in her possession, but she failed to show up a few months later for a court appearance, prosecutors said.

Then last week, police in Virginia pulled her over for a traffic violation and learned she was wanted in Nassau, prosecutors said.

Talbert pleaded not guilty Thursday to third-degree grand larceny, first-degree identity theft, second-degree identity theft, first-degree scheme to defraud and third-degree unlawful possession of personal identification. She was held pending a bail of $5,000 bond or $250 cash.

She was represented by Legal Aid, which does not comment on cases.

Data containing patients' personal information were stolen from patient folders at the hospital, prosecutors said. About 50 to 100 patients had their information compromised, they said.

Since then, North Shore University Hospital has changed its security on patient information to prevent a repeat of the theft, prosecutors said.

Talbert used stolen identities to open instant credit accounts and make purchases at stores such as Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Target, prosecutors said.

"This defendant took advantage of vulnerable hospital patients in a scheme to make thousands of dollars of purchases based on the good credit of others," District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a news release. "Though she tried to evade justice, she will now have to face the consequences of her deceitful actions."

In the past two years, several other ring members have been convicted in the case in Nassau, New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut, prosecutors said.

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