A man from Georgia who wrongly accused a former associate of violating patient privacy and breaching the HIPAA Guidelines got penalized $1,200 and 6 months jail time.
In October 2019, Jeffrey Parker, a 44-year old resident of Rincon, GA, served as a HIPAA whistleblower and notified the authorities regarding a major privacy violation committed by a nurse working at a Savannah, GA hospital, which included sending emails with graphic images of hospital patients with traumatic injuries within and outside the hospital.
Based on court documents, Parker was involved in a complex scheme to set up a former associate as violating the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s Privacy Rule. To support the false claims, Parker made several email accounts using the names of actual patients and utilized those email accounts to submit false allegations of privacy violations. The hospital where the nurse is employed, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received copies of the email messages.
Parker additionally claimed that he received threats for being a whistleblower, and so law enforcement officials had taken action to make certain that he is safe. When asked with regards to the threats and the HIPAA rule violations, an FBI agent found irregularities in his statements and after more questioning, Parker confessed that he falsely accused the former associate to frame him up for fake HIPAA violations.
When Parker got charged, U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine explained that making false accusations on others of criminal activity is unlawful, and it slows down justice system staff by making them pursue needless investigations. This bogus complaint prompted federal investigators to shift resources and caused unnecessary trouble for a vital health care organization in the community.
Parker admitted to committing a case of making false claims and is likely to face a 5-year jail period. U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood sentenced Parker to stay in jail for 6 months.
Special Agent Chris Hacker who is in Charge of FBI Atlanta stated that numerous investigative hours and resources were spent in figuring out that Parker’s claims as a whistleblower were fraudulent and intended to cause damage to another person. Before he can cause more problems, his fancy scheme was discovered by a perceptive FBI agent and at this point, he is going to serve time for his planned criminal offense.
Parker is not entitled to get parole and is going to serve the complete term, and afterward, he will get 3 years of monitored release.