Author Name Kyle Murphy, PhD
A federal grand jury in Savannah, Ga., has handed down six indictments April 2 to 12 defendants charged with filing fraudulent tax returns based on protected health information (PHI) from stolen medical records, various news outlets are reporting. Information about the source of the medical records or the patients affected by the health data breach has yet to emerge.
According to the Coastal Source, the 155 violations of federal law could lead the defendants to each face prison terms of 20 years for conspiracy, 20 years for each count of filing fraudulent tax returns, 10 years for misusing medical records, and a mandatory and consecutive 2 years for each count of aggravated identity theft. Up to $250,000 in fines for each charge could also be levied against the defendants:
• Erica Baldwin (31) of Statesboro, Ga.
• Tracy Denson (44) of Statesboro, Ga.
• Shakita Eason (30) of Statesboro, Ga.
• Yolanda Edmond (36) of Statesboro, Ga.
• Gloria Evans (44) of Statesboro, Ga.
• Joshua Mincey (20) of Statesboro, Ga.
• Porsche Pinkney (19) of Augusta, Ga.
• Dwan Scott (32) of Statesboro, Ga.
• Jenna Scott (28) of Jacksonville, Fla.
• Gregory Smith (21) of Statesboro, Ga.
• Tidaesha Taylor (27) of College Park, Ga.
• Andrea Webb (31) of Register, Ga.
Those indicted who were arrested in Statesboro are scheduled to appear in court in Savannah on April 4.
The indictments for attempting to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other crimes has led to a total of 21 arrests in Georgia as well as one each in Ohio and Florida. Multiple reports indicate that the arrests are part of an ongoing joint investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Statesboro Police, and the IRS and which dates back as far as 2011.
According to WSAV reporter Meredith Ley, the theft of medical records used to filing phony tax returns was an inside job. “All of their information was taken from doctor’s offices, and the three that are believed to be the ringleaders, all had friends or family members working from the inside,” she reports.
Georgia was recently the site of another health data breach, this time in Atlanta at Women’s Health Enterprise, Inc. of Family Health Enterprise (FHE). The organization notified 3,000 patients participating in FHE’s Breast Health Promotion Program were potentially affected by an after-hours break-in that led to the theft of two unencrypted laptops. Information on the stolen laptops included names, Social Security Numbers, addresses, dates of birth and clinical information.
Article Sourced From: http://healthitsecurity.com/2013/04/04/medical-records-used-in-identify-thief-tax-fraud-in-georgia/