Conspirators Plead Guilty To Selling HIPAA-Protected Patient Information For Tax Fraud
Tampa, FL - Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Denetria Barnes (24) and Jakiel Bazart (28), both of Tampa, today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and wrongfully disclosing HIPAA information. Both face a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.
According to court documents, in August of 2012, the Tampa Police Department recovered stolen means of identification when they executed a narcotics-related search warrant. Those documents were being used to file fraudulent tax returns. The documents ultimately led law enforcement to Barnes and Bazart, who had been selling patients' names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers.
Working in an undercover capacity, law enforcement purchased a number of HIPAA-protected records from both Bazart and Barnes. With respect to Bazart, this included an incident, on April 3, 2013, where Bazart offered to sell fifteen pages of means of identification for $1,500. Bazart also said that he had a “trash barrel” filled with patients’ means of identification. On May 22, 2013, Barnes attempted to sell a spreadsheet containing approximately 400 stolen means of identification for $15,000. One of the columns on the spreadsheet contained each patient’s home address.
This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Tampa Police Department, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.