Federal Charges Filed in Umc Records Leak Investigation
Las Vegas, Nev. – A local man was charged by the federal grand jury today with participating in a conspiracy to receive and disclose UMC hospital patient records in order to solicit business and clients for personal injury attorneys, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Richard W. Charette, 54, of Las Vegas, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to illegally disclose personal health information in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act of 1996 (HIPAA). The indictment alleges that from about January 2009 through November 19, 2009, Charette conspired with persons, including CC-1, an employee of the trauma unit at UMC, to obtain money and property through the disclosure and use of confidential health information of UMC patients. Pursuant to HIPAA, it is unlawful to disclose patient health information for any purpose other than treatment, payment or otherwise as provided by federal law. CC-1 allegedly obtained patient "Face Sheets" for UMC trauma patients and provided them to Charette. Charette then used the information to solicit patients on behalf of local personal injury attorneys. Charette also hired persons to solicit patients and instructed some of the persons he hired to use fake names when contacting patients. Charette paid CC-1 for each patient who retained a personal injury attorney with whom Charette was affiliated, and Charette benefitted by generating the referrals for the attorneys. Charette also destroyed and encouraged his co-conspirators, including CC-1, to destroy the Face Sheets. The indictment alleges that between July 31 and November 19, 2009, CC-1 faxed Face Sheets to Charette on at least 55 occasions and received approximately $8,000 from Charette.
Charette was summoned, and is scheduled to make an initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen on May 14, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI, and the case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Crane M. Pomerantz.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.