HIPAA Violation Indictments for Medical Office Assistants

Veriphyr proactively reports impermissible use of PHI the first time it happens.

The Bank Fraud Ring Included HIPAA Violators

In 2011, the United States Attorney’s Office announced indictment of twelve individuals in a massive identity theft and bank fraud scheme. Two of the twelve indicted were medical office assistants with access to patients’ dates of birth, social security numbers, and medical information (a).

One of the charges the medical office assistants faced were violations of HIPAA laws for stealing patient identification information.

Specifically, the two medical office assistants were charged with selling the medical record information to the other indicted conspirators (c). While the identity theft ring stole over $1.2 million, each medical record sold could have made the office assistants at least $50.

If convicted, each face a maximum statutory term of ten years’ imprisonment for the HIPAA violations (b). This would not be the first time HIPAA violations have led to prison time.

Early Detection

Moreover, all twelve people involved in the ring faced charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, access device fraud and identity theft (d). The stolen personal identification information was used to deplete the victim’s bank accounts and incur credit card charges as high as $128,000 in one case (c).

Steve Katz, the first Chief Information Security Officer and a leading expert on cybersecurity, has argued for the importance of detecting impermissible use of patient data. Detection of breaches as they happen could have identified the fraud ring earlier.

“It is not clear when authorities – or the doctors employing the defendants – first became aware of the breach” (a)

You can download a white paper on the detection of privacy breaches of medical records. Learn how Veriphyr proactively ensures patient privacy and regulatory compliance.

 

Sources:

(a) Medical office assistants charged criminally under HIPAA for their part in ID theft ring – Data Breaches, April 8th, 2011

(b) ID Theft Ring Leads to Fraud Charges – Bank Info Security, April 14, 2011

(c) Broward Teachers’ Personal Information Stolen – CBS Local, April 5th, 2011

(d) Broward School Board Employee in ID Theft Scheme – NBC Miami, April 6, 2011