News and Press Releases

Former UPMC Shadyside Hospital Employee Pleads Guilty To HIPAA Violation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ In the first HIPAA prosecution in the Western District of Pennsylvania, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today that a resident of Murrysville, Pa., pleaded guilty to knowingly disclosing patient health information to another person in violation of federal law. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) law passed by Congress provides for national standards for electronic health care transactions and protects patients from the unauthorized disclosure of personal medical information without their consent.

Paul C. Pepala, 36, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Maurice B. Cohill, Jr.

According to the information provided to the court, Pepala, then employed at UPMC Shadyside disclosed the names and Social Security numbers of patients at Shadyside Hospital.  Many of the names and numbers were then used by other persons to file unauthorized Form 1040 electronic tax returns in 2008, in which the filers sought tax refunds.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of up to one year in prison, a fine of $50,000.00, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Judge Cohill set sentencing for Oct. 20, 2011.  Pepala will remain on bond pending sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci is prosecuting this case on behalf of the United States.

Agents of the United States Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service and Secret Service conducted the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

Return to Top

 

 

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Justice 101
Opioid Overdose Reduction Action Plan
Text PGHOD to Tip411 (847411)
Strategy

Law enforcement agencies and community partners help us reduce crime.

Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.

Stop Fraud

Protect yourself from fraud, and report suspected cases of financial fraud to local law enforcement.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.