Man pleads guilty to first case prosecuted under HIPAA

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A man has pleaded guilty in federal court to wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information for economic gain, the first criminal conviction under the health information privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle, WA. He faces 10 to 16 months in jail.

The 42-year-old said he obtained a cancer patient's name, birth date and social security number while employed at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. He gave that information to credit card companies and got cards in the patient's name so he could charge more than $9,000 in debt.

If convicted, the man would serve time, as well as pay the credit card companies the costs he allegedly owes.

For more information, visit www.usdoj.gov/usao/waw/.