BEND, Ore. - (Update: Plea petition indicates a 20-day jail term)
A California man has pleaded guilty to identity theft after working as a ophthalmic technician at an eye doctor’s office in Bend. Anthony Burkett was working at Infocus Eye Care in northeast Bend under the false name “Anthony Williams."
Administrators there said Wednesday they have no evidence at this time of misuse of patient information. But as it turns out, this is just the latest incident in a long list of Burkett’s crimes.
A U.S. marshal in California, searching for Burkett, tipped off Deschutes County officials that he was working at Infocus. When police went there to arrest him, Burkett cooperated.
After a search, officials found three sets of fake IDs, including driver's licenses and Social Security cards, which Burkett said he bought on Craigslist.
Despite the crime, Burkett claims he is a certified to be an ophthalmic technician.
Reports from the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office show Burkett, 42, has a bachelor's degree in biology from Louisiana State University but dropped out of optometry school because his girlfriend at the time was pregnant.
Since then, Burkett has been in and out of jail. He’s been arrested at least five times for using bad checks and possessing stolen vehicles.
When he faced the possibility of spending three years in prison, Burkett went on the run, fleeing California, reports show. But he had to keep working to pay child support, so he started using false identities.
Most recently, he worked in Eugene at Oregon Eye Consultants as a lead tech for four months. Then he moved to Bend, to avoid authorities again.
Administrators at Infocus would not disclose what Burkett’s exact responsibilities were, other than that he worked as a technician. He only had worked there for 15 days.
When Burkett was arrested on Nov. 12, he reportedly told Bend police he was happy to be in custody. He said he was knew this day was coming and he was tired of running.
Burkett remains held without bail at the county jail in Bend on an out-of-county arrest warrant.
Court records show Burkett, listing as his residence a Citrus Heights, Calif., address, was arraigned Nov. 13 on the Class A misdemeanor ID theft charge. He pleaded guilty on Tuesday and is scheduled for sentencing on Monday. His plea petition indicated he has agreed to serve a 20-day jail term on the charge.
An official statement from Infocus reads:
"Last week, we became aware that a recently hired employee was arrested for allegedly committing identity theft prior to his employment with Infocus Eye Care. The former employee passed industry standard screening procedures that we routinely apply to all prospective employees and was consistently supervised during his brief employment.
"We are currently in the process of conducting an internal investigation and are working closely with law enforcement to ensure the privacy and safety of our patients and their medical information. At this time, we have not identified evidence of improper access to or misuse of patient information.
"Infocus Eye Care is committed to protecting the privacy and security of patient information, and we will provide further updates as they become available. "