Man convicted of using stolen patient data from hospital

January 24, 2007

Associated Press

A jury convicted a man Wednesday for his involvement in the theft of personal and medical information of more than 1,100 patients at a suburban hospital, authorities said.

Fernando Ferrer Jr., 29, of Naples, was found guilty of one count of conspiring to defraud the United States, one count of computer fraud, one count of wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information, and five counts of aggravated identity theft, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Isis Machado, 23, of Miami Lakes, worked as a front desk coordinator at Cleveland Clinic in Weston from May 2005 to June 2006. She downloaded patient files and then sold them to Ferrer, who then made false Medicare claims as owner of Advanced Medical Claims Inc. in Naples, the indictment said.

Ferrer used the information to bill medical providers in Miami for services that were not rendered, resulting in $7 million fraudulently billed to Medicare, federal investigators said.

Machado entered a guilty plea Jan. 12 on one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, identify theft and wrongful disclosure of individual health information. Machado then testified against Ferrer.

Ferrer faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

Machado faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and could be ordered to pay restitution, according to authorities.

Ferrer and Machado are to be sentenced on April 27.

The names of their attorneys were not immediately known.

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