SAN JOSE – LAWFUEL – The Law News Wire – United States Attorney Scott N. Schools announced that Joseph Nathaniel Harris, 44, now living in Riverside, California, pled guilty yesterday to stealing computer equipment in March 2005 from the San Jose Medical Group, including a DVD with sensitive medical and personal information for almost 200,000 patients in the San Jose area. FBI agents recovered the DVD from Harris’ car in April 2005.
According to a criminal complaint affidavit and indictment filed earlier with the court as well as Harris’ guilty plea today, Harris was branch manager at the San Jose Medical Group, a medical services organization that includes hundreds of affiliated physicians in the South Bay. Harris left the San Jose Medical Group in September 2004. On March 28, 2005, employees discovered computer equipment missing from the San Jose Medical Group administrative office, including a DVD with clinic visit entries for almost 200,000 patients. The DVD included patients’ names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, social security numbers, diagnoses, medical procedures, and other information. Harris kept the DVD but sold the computer equipment. FBI agents found the DVD in Harris’ car.
The indictment charges Mr. Harris with one count of theft in connection with health care, in violation of 18 U.S.C.§ 669. Today, before United States District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel, Harris pled guilty to this charge, admitting that he stole computer equipment from the San Jose Medical Group, including the DVD.
Judge Fogel has scheduled sentencing for Harris for September 5, 2007. The maximum statutory penalty for this count is 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or twice the gain or loss resulting from the theft (whichever is greater), three years supervised release, and restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant United States Attorney Matthew A. Lamberti is prosecuting the case, with the assistance of legal assistant Susan Kreider. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.