Former HCMC Employee Pleads Guilty To Identity Theft

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 35-year-old Fridley woman has pleaded guilty to fraudulently using patients’ credit cards while she worked at the Hennepin County Medical Center, the county attorney’s office announced Tuesday.

On Monday, Elizabeth Tavarez pleaded guilty to one count of identity theft in a scheme that occurred from Oct. 19, 2015 through Jan. 11, 2016.

According to the criminal complaint, Tavarez worked at HCMC as a finance counselor and, as part of her job, collected co-payments from patients and entered them into the medical center’s billing system. When patients paid in cash, she would allegedly keep it and use the cash for herself. She would then void the cash payment in the HCMC’s billing system and would then charge another patient’s credit card to cover the theft.

Sentencing has been set for Nov. 14. She’s expected to be sentenced to three years of probation with no more than 90 days in the county workhouse.

The county attorney’s office will also be asking for Tavarez to pay restitution. The exact amount has not been determined.

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