“If your heart was failing, how far would you go to fix it? Authorities say John Parsons, 57, of Oak Park stole the identity of a mentally disabled friend to pay for heart bypass surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago in 2007. Parsons allegedly racked up about $350,000 in medical expenses billed to the friend’s Medicaid account.

It was not until copies of the bills started arriving at the Joliet home of Phillip Johnson that police said his live-in caregiver discovered the alleged scam. Parsons admitted stealing Johnson’s identity after his arrest, police said. He is due in court Sept. 15 on two counts of aggravated financial identity theft, the culmination of an eight-month investigation by Joliet police and the Will County state’s attorney’s office. Bail was set at $2.5 million.

“Unlike credit-card fraud where you can go back and seize that toaster or LCD television they bought, how do you go back in there and get somebody’s heart?” said Joliet Deputy Police Chief Patrick Kerr. “This is the first time in my 12 years I’ve seen anything like this.”

(via The Chicago Tribune)