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Woodlawn couple plead guilty to stealing identities of hundreds

A Woodlawn man and his girlfriend have pleaded guilty to fraud and identity theft charges in a federal case that compromised the personal information of more than 250 people — including doctors who applied for fellowships at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where the girlfriend worked.

Derrick Hill, 52, was the "ringleader" of a group of four people — including his girlfriend, Renee Cabell, 51, and co-defendants John Coffey and Tawney King, who have also pleaded guilty — that stole more than $188,000 in cash, merchandise and services through their scheme between August and October 2009, according to a statement from the Maryland U.S. State's Attorney's Office.

According to prosecutors, King accessed identity and personal finance information through her job at Highlandtown Community Health Center; Cabell accessed information from fellowship applicants at Johns Hopkins, where she processed applications; and Coffey was recruited to help Hill cash checks at banks and retail establishments.

Hill also used the information to create counterfeit checks, as well as real Maryland driver's licenses for him and his co-conspirators that had stolen identity information but their photographs, prosecutors said.

Hill paid the others a small percentage of every transaction made with the stolen information, prosecutors said. Some transactions were for large amounts of money, like rent.

"Indeed, shortly before Hill's arrest, Hill was attempting to rent another apartment in a doctor's identity because he and Cabell were about to be evicted for non-payment on the apartment they rented in the identity of another doctor," prosecutors said in a statement.

All four have pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Hill will be sentenced March 18. Prosecutors have agreed with his attorneys to seek 11 years in prison, prosecutors said, though District Judge Richard D. Bennett will decide.

Cabell, Coffey and King will be sentenced March 21, Feb. 13 and Feb. 19, respectively. They face maximum sentences of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conspiracy and a consecutive two years in prison for the identity theft.

All will have to pay restitution.

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