Las Vegas Sun

January 27, 2015

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Man indicted in probe of UMC privacy leak

A man was indicted today by a federal grand jury in an alleged conspiracy to pay a University Medical Center employee for private information about traffic accident victims that was used to drum up clients.

The indictment is the outcome of an FBI probe that was launched in response to a Las Vegas Sun investigation that exposed the privacy breach at UMC.

Richard W. Charette, 54, of Las Vegas, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to illegally disclose personal health information, in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, the United States Attorneys office said in a press release.

Between January and November 19, 2009 -- the day before the Sun's first story -- Charette allegedly conspired with people, including a UMC employee, to use hospital "face sheets" to solicit personal injury cases for attorneys.

The UMC employee faxed the registration sheets of trauma patients to Charette on at least 55 occasions and was paid about $8,000, the indictment said.

Charette could not be reached for comment.

The U.S. Attorney's press release said Charette has been summoned for a May 14 hearing. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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