Las Vegas Sun

December 1, 2015

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Man pleads guilty to disclosing UMC patient records for personal gain


Tiffany Brown

University Medical Center, which is Clark County’s only publicly funded hospital.

A Las Vegas man pleaded guilty Tuesday to participating in a conspiracy to receive and disclose University Medical Center hospital patient records in order to solicit business and clients for personal injury attorneys, Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said.

Richard W. Charette, 55, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to illegally disclose personal health information in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and is scheduled to be sentenced May 4 by U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson.

The FBI investigation that led to Charette's indictment was sparked by a Sun investigation into leaked patient information at the hospital.

“Patients should not have to be concerned that their personal information might be compromised when they visit a hospital or medical provider,” Bogden said. “Federal authorities will vigorously investigate and prosecute persons who participate in such crimes.”

According to a memorandum filed in support of Charette’s guilty plea, between January and Nov. 19, 2009, he conspired with the manager of the trauma resuscitation department at UMC and with others to illegally disclose patient record information for personal gain. Charette approached the manager and convinced him to provide to Charette “face sheets” from the records of patients who had been treated in the UMC trauma department.

Between July 31 and Nov. 19, 2009, Charette received face sheets from the trauma resuscitation department manager, via fax transmission, on at least 55 occasions. Charette then used the information from the face sheets to solicit patients for legal and medical referrals. Charette paid the trauma resuscitation department manager for each patient who retained a personal injury attorney or chiropractor with whom Charette was affiliated, for roughly $9,200 total.

The FBI investigation is ongoing. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Crane Pomerantz and Sarah Griswold.

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