12.01.2017 Back to News

HIPAA Alert: 5-Year Jail Sentence and $266K Fine for Health Care Worker Who Stole Protected Health Information

As the case of health care worker Jean Baptiste Alvarez of Aldan, Penn., illustrates, violation of HIPAA regulations can result in lengthy prison sentences and costly fines.

In 2016, Alvarez was found guilty of stealing protected health information (PHI) from his workplace, a behavioral health care facility. He took census sheets with patient names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other information that was used for identity theft, including the filing of 164 fraudulent tax returns.

His conviction on counts of conspiracy to defraud, misuse of Social Security numbers and aggravated identity theft carried a minimum jail sentence of two years, with a maximum sentence of 24 years.

Alvarez was sentenced to five years of jail time, three years of supervised release and a fine of more than $266,000.

Alvarez appealed his sentence. The U.S. Court of Appeals rejected his appeal.

Questions About HIPAA?

Contact HIPAA Privacy Officer Zorana Vojnovic at (402) 354-6863 or zorana.vojnovic@nmhs.org.