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A healthcare worker who was accused of violating Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules and patient privacy by sending photographs of patients to unauthorized individuals has been cleared of any wrongdoing, following an investigation by federal law enforcement. A former acquaintance of the healthcare worker was discovered to have concocted a scheme to frame his former acquaintance for fictitious HIPAA violations and is now facing a prison sentence for making false statements.
Jeffrey Parker, 43, of Richmond Hill, GA, concocted an elaborate scheme to frame the former acquaintance for violations of patient privacy. In U. S. District Court in the Southern District of Georgia, Parker pled guilty to one count of false statements and admitted creating fake email addresses and concocting information in an effort to harm a former acquaintance. Parker portrayed himself as a whistleblower and contacted the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the hospital where the healthcare worker was employed to make false allegations of HIPAA violations.
Several email addresses were created using the real names of individuals. Parker impersonated each to accuse the healthcare worker of violating patient privacy and the HIPAA Rules. Parker also claimed to have been threatened for reporting the HIPAA violations and acting as a whistleblower. The FBI investigated the case promptly to ensure Parker’s safety but identified inconsistencies in his account of events. After further investigation, Parker admitted he had concocted the scheme to harm the former acquaintance.
“This fake complaint not only caused potential harm for an innocent victim, but it also unnecessarily diverted resources from federal investigators whose diligent work shredded his web of lies,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
“Many hours of investigative resources were wasted determining Parkers’ whistleblower claims were a scheme to damage a former acquaintance,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Now he will pay for his deliberate transgression and we can affirm that these types of actions will be exposed and punished.”
Parker faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in jail.