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Couple Used Hospital Patients' Identities to Go On $300K Shopping Spree: DA

By Shaye Weaver | December 10, 2015 2:49pm
 Kyle and Krystle Steed stole patients' personal info to buy designer goods over the phone, the DA said.
Kyle and Krystle Steed stole patients' personal info to buy designer goods over the phone, the DA said.
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LENOX HILL — A Lenox Hill Hospital emergency room staffer and his wife stole the personal information of more than 80 patients over a year and used it to buy more than $300,000 worth of designer merchandise, authorities said.

Kyle and Krystle Steed, both 30 and from The Bronx, worked together to use patients' information — including social security numbers, names and birth dates — to make purchases on credit cards, including $6,000 in Chanel handbags, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

They were arrested at their Washington Avenue home at roughly 6:20 a.m. on Wednesday, some time after they tried to buy more than $1 million in fraudulent purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue, according to prosecutors.

Each was charged with grand larceny, attempted grand larceny and identity theft —  a total of 193 felony counts.

"The conduct charged in this case is morally reprehensible," Vance said. "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."

Between January 2014 and February 2015, Kyle Steed, who had been employed at the hospital since 2011, went through emergency room patients' records and slipped personal information to his wife, who then used it to take over their victims' credit card accounts, according to the DA.

In one case, a victim had died just two hours before the wife took control of their bank account and began making purchases, prosecutor's said.

Krystle Steed was able to talk her way out of security questions by claiming to be at a doctor's office where she required immediate access to the credit card number or by arguing with customer service representatives and accusing them of biased treatment, among other methods.

Lenox Hill Hospital said it has been working with law enforcement in the investigation and it will notify all the impacted patients.

"Protecting the privacy of patient information is a top priority that we take very seriously," said Barbara Osborn, a spokeswoman for the hospital. "The hospital continues to take aggressive steps to strengthen the security protocols we have in place to protect patient information."

Kyle Steed, who was charged in an unrelated incident with aggravated harassment in 2010, was suspended from his job at the hospital without pay in April and was later fired, the DA's office said.

Krystle Steed has an extensive history of theft and impersonation stemming all the way back to 2002, according to the NYPD.

On Nov. 4, 2013, she was charged with criminal impersonation after she tried to pass herself off as an EMT worker at Lenox Hill Hospital. She displayed an EMT shield on the dashboard of her car, but couldn't provide identification when the hospital asked for it, police said.

More recently, Krystle Steed and two other women were arrested and charged with grand larceny after shoplifting from a Third Avenue True Religion store on July 30, police said.

On May 12, she and three other suspects went into the Victoria's Secret near Herald Square and lifted $644 worth of clothing. She was charged with possession of burglary tools, petit larceny and 43 counts of criminal possession of stolen property, according to the NYPD.

Attorneys representing the Steeds, Glenn Abolafia and Susan Calvello, did not immediately return requests for comment.