LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United Sta…

LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that two (2) defendants who were convicted of conspiracy, identity theft, computer fraud and wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information (HIPAA violation) were sentenced by United States District Court Judge James I. Cohn, on Friday, April 27, 2007. Fernando Ferrer, Jr. and Isis Machado were convicted of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft and conspiracy to wrongfully disclose individually identifiable health information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. Ferrer was also convicted of substantive count of fraud in connection with computers in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030, a substantive count of violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) involving the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information, in violation of 42 U.S.C § 1320d-6(a)(2), and five separate counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation 18 U.S.C. § 1028A. Ferrer pled not guilty and proceeded to trial. He was convicted by a jury of all 8 counts of the Superseding Indictment. Machado pled guilty to conspiracy and testified at trial against Ferrer.

Defendant Machado was employed at the Cleveland Clinic. Machado and her cousin Ferrer, obtained the personal information of Cleveland Clinic and Health Management Associates (HMA) patients, including, among other information, the patients’ names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, Medicare numbers, and addresses, and used the patients’ information to make fraudulent claims for Medicare reimbursement upon the United States, allegedly on behalf of more than 1,100 victims and in an amount in excess of $2.5 million. Ferrer advised Machado of an “opportunity” whereby Machado could sell stolen personal identification information to her co-conspirators. Machado exceeded her authorized access to the Cleveland Clinic’s computer system to obtain and print out personal information of Cleveland Clinic and HMA patients. Machado then provided this personal information to Ferrer in return for payment. Ferrer then caused the personal information obtained by Machado to be used to file fraudulent claims for Medicare reimbursement upon the United States. Cleveland Clinic reported the allegations to the FBI, which began the investigation as a result of the information provided by Cleveland Clinic.

Ferrer was sentenced to 87 months in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,505,883.43. Machado was sentenced to 3 years probation, including 6 months of home confinement, and also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,505,883.43.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Neil Karadbil and Larry Bardfeld.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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