HIPAA Violator Gets 6 Years in Prison

Prescription Fraud Scheme Involved ID Theft
HIPAA Violator Gets 6 Years in Prison
An Alabama man has been sentenced to six years in prison for his role in a prescription fraud scheme that involved HIPAA privacy violations.

Isaac Earl Smith had pleaded guilty to health care fraud, aggravated identity theft and disclosures prohibited under HIPAA, according to Joyce White Vance, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

Smith was involved in a criminal conspiracy that involved working with others to access the personal information of individuals who had Flexible Spending Accounts administered by United Healthcare Inc. and also were covered by a prescription drug plan sponsored by the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan, prosecutors said. Smith and others used the information to create counterfeit prescriptions that were presented to pharmacies to illegally obtain controlled substances that were sold to third parties. The value of the drugs was estimated at more than $70,000.

"Not only did the people involved in this scheme illegally obtain and sell prescription drugs; they used stolen identities to cause insurance plans to bear the cost of these drugs as if they had been issued for a legitimate purposed," Vance said.

In addition to the prison term, Smith was ordered to pay restitution to the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan for the value of the drugs illegally obtained as well as an equal amount to the government.

About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

News Editor, ISMG

Anderson is news editor of Information Security Media Group and was founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 40 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.

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