US Attorney Former Medical Group Manager Gets 21 Months Prison For Stealing 187,000 Patient Records

SAN JOSE – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – United States Attorney Scott N. Schools announced that Joseph Nathaniel Harris, 44, now living in Anaheim, California, was sentenced Friday, October 5, 2007 to 21 months in prison for stealing computer equipment in March 2005 from the San Jose Medical Group, including a DVD with sensitive medical and personal information for about 187,000 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, 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 about 187,000 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.

On January 18, 2006, a federal grand jury charged Harris with one count of theft in connection with health care, in violation of 18 U.S.C.§ 669. On May 30, 2007, Harris pled guilty to this charge, admitting that he stole computer equipment from the San Jose Medical Group, including the DVD.

United States District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel sentenced Harris to 21 months in prison, three years supervised release, and $145,154 in restitution. Judge Fogel ordered Harris to surrender to authorities on January 4, 2008 to begin his prison sentence.

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.

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