A clinic employee who thieved the safeguarded health info of psychologically ill patients as well as sold the information to identity bandits has not succeeded to reduce his 5-year jail sentence.
Jean Baptiste Alvarez, 43, of Aldan, thieved daily census pages from the Kirkbride Center, a behavioral health care service in Philadelphia. The census pages had all the information required to thieve the individualities of patients and present their fake tax returns – Names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers as well as other individually recognizable info.
Alvarez had the chance to thieve the data unnoticed since the surface where the pages were kept didn’t have safety cameras.
Alvarez was getting $1,000 for each census page from his co-conspirators, who utilized the info to present 164 fake tax returns of the patients, leading in a deficit of $232,612 in tax income for the Internal Revenue Service.
In the beginning of 2016, Alvarez was found responsible for a plot to deceive, abuse of Social Security numbers, and serious identity stealing. The latter brought a minimum punishment of two years. The maximum punishment for all considerations was 24 years in prison, a maximum of 3 years of observed freedom, and possibly a penalty.
Judge Michael M. Baylson quoted the susceptible victim enhancement, as well as Alvarez was penalized to five years in prison for his wrongdoings, three years of controlled freedom, was asked to pay $266,985 in compensation, and a $500 exceptional assessment penalty.
Alvarez petitioned the ruling claiming it was unreasonably severe because his casualties weren’t “in danger.” He also clarified that he didn’t aim the patients since they were psychologically ill and had drug habit issues. He just thieved the information since he was able to access it.
Nevertheless, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overruled his petition to have the sentence decreased, declaring that Alvarez’s claim had no merit. The targets were suffering from addiction and mental health problems and were susceptible. Judge D. Michael Fisher also remarked that as the patients were not employed, the Internal Revenue Service was not likely to discover the scam as there won’t be any matching entitlement. Similarly, the patients would not likely to find out they had been deceived because of their mental health problems. The 5-year jail sentence stays.
The incident serves as a notice to healthcare employees that the thievery of patients’ private information can lead to long jail sentences. The Division of Justice is forcefully following lawsuits of tax fraud, identity theft, and PHI theft and is disciplining offenders to the maximum limit of the law.