Identity Thief Poses as RN, Endangers Patients

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, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.