BEND, Ore. - (Updating with business statement)
A Bend woman who worked in a medical office billing department was arrested late last month and indicted this week on eight theft and ID theft counts, accused of copying customers’ payment information and using it to buy items such as shoes and makeup, police said Friday.
The case against Karleigh Kelly,36, arose last month, when Bend police got a report of fraudulent activity on a Redmond resident’s account, said Bend police Lt. Clint Burleigh. The initial report found more than $1,000 in authorized charges on the person’s credit card statement, with the purchases shipped to a Bend location.
An investigating officer learned of another case, which was handled by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, that also sent items to Kelly’s home,on Northeast Comet Lane, Burleigh said.
The investigating officer responded to an unrelated call for service at the address and found items in the home similar to those that had been purchased fraudulently, the lieutenant said. Recovered items included shoes and cosmetics.
The officer also found photocopied payment forms from Desert Orthopedics, where Kelly worked, according to Burleigh.
Kelly was arrested on Jan. 29 and taken to the Deschutes County Jail, where she was booked on four counts each of identity theft and computer crime and single counts of first-degree theft and fraudulent use of a credit card. She was conditionally released from jail the next day, pending a court date set for next Tuesday, a jail officer said.
The eight-count indictment returned Thursday accuses Kelly of four counts of identity theft, two counts of second-degree theft and two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, listing three victims in October and November of last year.
Burleigh said Desert Orthopedics has been “very cooperative” with the Bend police investigation and has notified other potential victims, to minimize any further loss.
Since Kelly’s arrest, others have contacted Bend police to report ID theft in relation to the case. If you find you are a victim of ID theft related to a payment to Desert Orthopedics, you’re asked to contact the Bend Police Department at 541-693-6911.
Desert Orthopedics provided this statement to NewsChannel 21 Friday from Chief Executive Officer Troy Green:
"Desert Orthopedics has always endeavored to protect confidential patient information through the highest standards of due diligence and use of the most up to date fraud security measures. Despite these best efforts, we recently learned that there had been a breach of patient financial data.
"Although at this time it appears this breach was very limited and affected only a few patients, we have taken immediate steps to rectify the resulting problems, reinforce our fraud protection protocols and continue to explore all available avenues to prevent any future incidents.
"We have mailed notices to all of the individuals that we feel could have been impacted, and we express our deepest regrets for any inconvenience this may have caused our valued patients."
Burleigh said in a news release, “Cases like these are important reminders for all of us to check our credit statements, to make sure we are not victims of identity theft.”
“Everyone is vulnerable to identity theft,” he added, “and keeping a consistent watch on our credit history could limit not only our loss, but the loss from our family and neighbors,” he added.
Bend police Lieutenant Brian Kindel offered some advice for those who have their identities stolen.
"There's going to be criminals, and we want to put them away," he said. "We want to go after them, and we need people's help, to bring the information forward. Don't sit on it -- don't be a victim. Bring it forward to us. Let us see what we can do to help you."