FL: Hospital employee indicted for stealing patient information

Jacquettia L. Brown, and Tear Renee Barbary, both residents of Miami-Dade County have been indicted on offenses relating to the theft of patient profile records from Palmetto General Hospital to further a fraud scheme.

The seven-count Indictment charges Brown and Barbary with conspiracy to commit access device fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(b)(2), and criminal violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Title 42, United States Code, Sections 1320d-6(a)(2), (a)(3), and (b)(3). In addition, Brown is charged with aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).

According to the indictment, Brown, a medical records employee of Palmetto General Hospital, took records containing personal profile information of Palmetto General Hospital patients. Defendant Brown and Barbary then used the stolen personal information to further a credit card fraud conspiracy. The patient profile records that Brown stole included personal identifying information, such as patients’ names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and next of kin contacts. Brown used the stolen identifying information to obtain patients’ credit card account numbers. She gave patient profile records and credit card account numbers to Barbary, who used the information to make unauthorized credit card purchases. When law enforcement officials disrupted the scheme, Brown was in possession of 41 patient profile records and Barbary was in possession of six patient profile records.

The confidentiality of patient information is strictly protected by the HIPAA. HIPAA precludes the unauthorized release of information that is created or received by a health care provider and relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental condition of an individual, the provision of health care to the individual, or the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to an individual, and that either identifies the individual or includes information that could be used to identify the individual. This HIPAA prosecution is the second recent prosecution of its kind in the Southern District of Florida.

If convicted, the defendants face a statutory maximum of five (5) years’ imprisonment on Count 1, and a statutory maximum of ten (10) years’ imprisonment as to each of Counts 2, 3, and 7. As to Counts 4-6, Brown faces a two (2) year mandatory prison sentence per count.

Source: Press release from U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida

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