This month, a U.S District Court judge for the Southern District of Georgia has sentenced a man for making false statements to law enforcement in a foiled attempt to frame a former acquaintance for fake violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Rules.
In October 2019, jeffrey Parker, 44, of Rincon, GA embarked upon a campaign to frame a former acquaintance for serious violations of patient privacy, in breach of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Parker alleged that a nurse at a Savannah hospital had been sharing graphic images of patients seen in the Emergency Room with colleagues and other individuals.
Parker claimed he was a whistleblower and filed complaints with the hospital, the FBI and the Department of Justice about the HIPAA violations. After submitting the complaints, Parker alleged he had been threatened for revealing the HIPAA violations and the FBI took steps to ensure his safety. When an FBI agent questioned Parker about the threats, a flag was raised due to inconsistencies in his story. When questioned further it became clear that the claims were false, and Parker admitted the scheme to frame the former acquaintance.
Accounting to court documents, Parker concocted an intricate scheme in order to harm the hospital nurse. He used the names of real patients of the hospital and set up email accounts in their names which were used to submit complaints about the nurse having violated HIPAA and patient privacy. Parker used the accounts to send complaints to law enforcement and the hospital.
Parker was charged with one count of making false statements and pleaded guilty. The charge carried a maximum jail term of 5 years. U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood recently sentenced Parker to 5 years in federal prison and ordered him to pay a fine of $1,200. Since there is no parole in the federal system, Parker will serve all 6 months in jail. He will ben have 3 years of supervised release.
“Many hours of investigation and resources were wasted determining that Parker’s whistleblower complaints were fake, meant to do harm to another citizen,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Before he could do more damage, his elaborate scheme was uncovered by a perceptive agent and now he will serve time for his deliberate transgression.”