Woman Pleads Guilty in ID Theft Ring That Ensnared Bernanke

Former doc's receptionist stole information from 37 patients

Alexandria, Va. -- A 36-year-old woman from Prince Frederick, Md., has admitted to stealing bank account information from patients as part of an identity theft ring that ensnared Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as a victim.

Makieta Leake, a former receptionist for Drs. Stanley Lugerner and Marc Shepard at 2021 K Street, NW, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria.

Leake admitted she stole information from 37 patients. She got patients' info by photocopying personal checks, and pulling Social Security numbers and birthdays from the medical offices' files, The Washington Examiner reported. She was paid between $200 and $500 for each victim's account information.

Leake was one of several "corrupt employees at professional offices" to have worked for convicted ringleader Clyde "Big Head" Austin Gray, according to court documents. Gray took the information Leake gave him and used it to create fake Maryland driver's licenses; he also hired pickpockets, including the one who swiped Bernanke's wife's purse at a District Starbucks in August 2008.

Prosecutors say that about 40 percent of the losses in the scheme can be traced back to Leake.

She is the fifth person to plead guilty in a scheme that prosecutors say resulted in more than $2 million in losses at 10 different banks. Leake faces up to 30 years in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 18.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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