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Article updated: 2/10/2014 7:32 PM

Woman pleads guilty to forging letters to Alexian Brothers patients

Michelle Morrison

Michelle Morrison

 
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An Elk Grove Village woman who admitted sending fraudulent letters to former patients of Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates pleaded guilty to three separate counts of forgery Monday, the day her trial was set to begin in Rolling Meadows.

Michelle Morrison, 53, was sentenced to 30 months probation, with the first year served on intensive probation, in exchange for pleading guilty to what Cook County Judge Bridget Hughes called "mean-spirited" behavior that "caused significant harm to the victims."

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Some of Morrison's letters informed recipients that electroshock therapy had been unsuccessful and that frontal lobotomies were recommended, Cook County prosecutors said at the time of Morrison's arrest,

Morrison, a single mother with no criminal background, apologized to the victims, who were present in court.

"I'm very sorry for what happened," she said. "I wasn't thinking clearly when I wrote those letters."

As a senior account representative at the Alexian Brothers psychiatric facility from November 2005 until July 2010, Morrison handled billing for patients insured by Blue Cross & Blue Shield. Before she was fired on July 20, 2010, Morrison took patient files, hospital letterhead stationery and hospital envelopes, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Clarissa Palermo.

Between March, 12, 2011, and June 25, 2012, Morrison sent letters to three former patients that included "false and vulgar statements" as well as "personal information only doctors at Alexian Brothers Health Hospital were privy to," Palermo said.

In August 2012, Cook County sheriff's police searched Morrison's home and found files of 30 patients, including the three victims, as well as the hospital stationery, Palermo said. In addition to the former patients, an Alexian Brothers employee received a letter with the word "liar" made up of letters cut from magazines, Palermo said.

Morrison, who said she was angry when she sent the letters, expressed relief that the victims would not have to testify.

"I don't want to hurt them any more," she said.

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