The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that a Webster woman has been charged with stealing the identity of 22 individuals, some of which belonged to patients at the hospital where she worked. Katherine Benitez, a 54-year-old employee of University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, located in Worcester, was fired earlier this year after accessing the personal files of more than 2,400 patients at the hospital. She later used the identity of 9 of those patients, and many other stolen identities to purchase utility services and cellular telephones. At this time, the police believe that Benitez’s daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend are also involved in the identity theft scheme as well. Beneitez is being changed with conspiracy, larceny, forgery and multiple counts of identity fraud.
A Carlisle man has been arraigned in both Woburn and Concord District Courts on charges of dissemination of matter harmful to a minor. He is also charged with six counts of dissemination of obscene material, identity theft, and criminal harassment. His pre-trial conference date in Woburn District Court is scheduled for March 1. His Concord District Court pre-trial date is scheduled for March 26.
The prosecution alleges that a California resident contacted Concord police this fall claiming that a person had posted photographs from her Facebook page onto a pornographic website without her permission. During the course of the investigation, police allegedly discovered that the defendant had multiple fake Facebook accounts. He allegedly used the accounts to initiate online contact and send the contacts unsolicited sexual images. Some of the images showed printed photos of the recipients covered in what looked like a bodily fluid. One alleged victim was 14 years old, and the defendant allegedly engaged in sexual conversations with children. The Concord, Carlisle, and Wilmington police departments are continuing the investigation along with state police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s office.
It is unclear what led police to the defendant, but computers and the anonymity of the Internet sometimes complicate these types of cases in ways that might be favorable for defendants. For instance, there can be multiple people, sometimes in separate households, using the same IP address or Internet connection. Because of this, it can be difficult for police and prosecutors to identify which particular user is responsible for Internet communications.