Identity Thief Poses as RN, Endangers Patients

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Young female Hispanic volunteer healthcare professional talks with female patient about her medical history.

Nurses have historically been viewed as angels of mercy. It was only through luck that a felon from Tennessee who posed as a nurse didn’t become an agent of death before pleading guilty to healthcare fraud, wire fraud, and identity theft.

In today’s complex healthcare arena, the technical skills and rigorous requirements of nurses are essential to patient safety—making it both terrifying and astounding that a felon with no nursing training or credentials managed to obtain multiple nursing positions over six years. (That’s a very scary thought indeed.)

Misty Dawn Bacon, 44, of Morristown, was convicted in 2003 of felony theft from the bank where she worked. Some years later, she assumed the identity of a Registered Nurse (RN) licensed in Tennessee who shared her first and last names. Bacon used the partial names and license numbers of two RNs, along with the fictitious claim of a nursing degree from Walters State Community College, to obtain jobs with eight health care providers. (Never mind that she also lied about her criminal record).

Prosecutors described several instances of patient harm, including in 2013 when Bacon administered 10 times the prescribed dose of insulin. The patient had to be hospitalized for three days as a result. In 2018, her failure to properly document a patient’s wounds led to incorrect care. In 2014 she repeatedly falsified patient medical records, recording blood sugar levels that she had never checked. (That’s enough, no need to hear any more.)

Bacon pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, healthcare fraud, and identity theft in December 2019. With sentencing scheduled for April 3, she faces up to 45 years in prison, fines of up to $750,000, and restitution that could exceed that number. (Perhaps in the interim, her former employers will be reviewing their background check and hiring procedures?)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes a Knoxville News Sentinel articles, “A felon masqueraded as an East Tennessee nurse for years. Now, she’s pleaded guilty to fraud,” published Dec. 12, 2019.

A felon masqueraded as an East Tennessee nurse for years. Now, she’s pleaded guilty to fraud.

A convicted felon who stole other women’s identities to pose as a registered nurse worked for years at a slew of East Tennessee institutions, where she falsified records, administered medications and performed procedures without any medical training or experience, federal court records show.

Misty Dawn Bacon, 44, of Morristown, pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of wire fraud, health care fraud and identity theft in U.S. District Court in Greeneville, prosecutors announced in a news release. She could face up to 45 years in prison.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.