Following the discover of a complex scheme to set up an acquaintance in relation to breaches violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a Georgia man has been charged.
The man in question, 43-year-old Jeffrey Parker, claimed that he was a whistleblower reporting HIPAA breaches committed by a nurse.Mr Parker made the breaches known to the hospital where the person was employed, and official complaints were also submitted to the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). During an interviewed with Fox28Media in October 2018, Mr Parker advised reporters that the nurse had been breaching HIPAA privacy laws for a long time.
The nurse worked at an unidentified health center in Savannah, GA, which was part of a health system that also managed healthcare facilities in Nashville, TN and other regions. It was claimed that she sent emailed graphic photographs of patients with traumatic injuries such as gunshot wounds to other individuals not connected to the hospital. In the Fox28Media interview Parker said that the sharing of images between employees and other people had been conducted over a long period of time. Parker asked to remain anonymous for his personal safety. and said that he had received threats as a result of reporting the HIPAA violations.
Along with saying that the nurse had violated HIPAA, Parker established email accounts using the names of actual hospital employees. Those email accounts were used to send additional reports of HIPAA violations to the hospital as well as the DoJ and the FBI to make it appear that the nurse’s co-workers were also reporting HIPAA breaches.
The FBI moved quickly to address the threats over his personal safety and asked Parker about the alleged crimes. An FBI agent discovered flaws in Parker’s story and, upon further questioning, Parker admitted making false statements and setting up the email addresses to back up his story. According to the Fox28Media story, the nurse was a previous lover of Parker.
U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine said: “Falsely accusing others of criminal activity is illegal, and it hinders justice system personnel with the pursuit of unnecessary investigations. This fake complaint caused a diversion of resources by federal investigators, as well as an unnecessary distraction for an important health care institution in our community.”
Parker was charged with a single count of false statements by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Parker now could potentially be given a five-year sentence in prison for the crime.
Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta said: “Hopefully the quick uncovering of this alleged scheme by our investigators will send a message that these types of actions will be exposed, and justice will be served”.