Fake whistleblower sentenced to federal prison for trying to frame a former acquaintance for violating patient privacy
Man created fake email accounts, used others' identities
SAVANNAH, GA: A Rincon man who portrayed himself as a whistleblower while falsely accusing a former acquaintance of violating patient privacy has been sentenced to federal prison.
Jeffrey Parker, 44, of Rincon, Ga., was sentenced to six months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood after pleading guilty to one count of False Statements, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Parker also was fined $1,200 and after completion of his prison term must serve three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Our law enforcement partners work tirelessly to protect the community by solving real crimes, and cases like this only divert time and resources from critical tasks,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “Jeffrey Parker’s fake complaint needlessly alarmed the victim and health care workers, but his scheme ultimately unraveled under the questioning of a perceptive FBI agent.”
As outlined in court documents and testimony, Parker admitted that he “engaged in an intricate scheme” in October 2019 when he contacted the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to claim that a former acquaintance had violated privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Parker created email addresses using the names of real individuals and pretended to be these individuals to make it appear as if the acquaintance committed a crime. He sent the emails to the hospital where the acquaintance worked, to the DOJ, and to the FBI, and then claimed to have received threatening messages in retaliation for acting as a whistleblower. FBI agents quickly responded by acting to ensure Parker’s safety and investigate his allegations, and under subsequent questioning, Parker admitted concocting the scheme in an attempt to harm the former acquaintance.
“Many hours of investigation and resources were wasted determining that Parker's whistleblower complaints were fake, meant to do harm to another citizen,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Before he could do more damage, his elaborate scheme was uncovered by a perceptive agent and now he will serve time for his deliberate transgression.”
The case was investigated by the FBI, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Schwedler.