Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Woman pleads guilty to stealing Tampa hospital patient IDs

TAMPA — A former hospital housekeeper pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing patient identities and supplying them to a friend to file fraudulent tax claims.

Tanya Cullens worked at Florida Hospital Tampa, formerly called University Community Hospital.

On Jan. 17, 2012, she took a list of 48 self-paying emergency room patients, her plea agreement states.

Her friend, Alesia Spivey, used 10 of the patients' names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers to collect $44,080 in refunds from the IRS, the court document states.

The first claim was filed immediately, on Jan. 17, 2012. The women attempted to get $79,204, but some of the claims were denied.

"Cullens and Spivey agreed to a 60/40 split for any tax refunds obtained during their conspiracy," the document states, noting that Cullens got the bigger cut.

In one instance, Spivey falsely claimed that a taxpayer (identified by the government only as W.G.) earned $75,292 in taxable income, of which $17,624 was supposedly withheld. The return claimed that the IRS owed "W.G." a refund of $4,209.

"In reality, W.G., who has not worked since 2009, did not earn any income in tax year 2011," the document states.

The IRS paid out the $4,209 refund and it was deposited onto a prepaid debit card that "W.G" didn't even know existed.

Cullens pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS, steal government property and commit wire fraud. She could face up to seven years in federal prison.

Spivey pleaded guilty Friday to two federal charges: one related to tax fraud and the other related to a separate moving expenses scam that victimized a business, Jabil Circuit, and also involved Cullens, records state. Spivey faces five years for each count.

Sentencing dates have not yet been scheduled.

Staff writer Patty Ryan can be reached at or (813) 226-3382.

Woman pleads guilty to stealing Tampa hospital patient IDs 02/12/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 11:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101