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Medical group manager gets prison for stealing patients' records




Medical group manager gets prison for stealing patients' records
Medical group manager gets prison for stealing patients' records



http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/10/BA6VSN2NJ.DTL 

By John Cote, 
Chronicle Staff Writer
October 10, 2007

SAN JOSE - A former branch manager at the San Jose Medical Group has 
been sentenced to almost two years in prison for stealing medical 
records for about 187,000 patients, federal prosecutors said today.

Joseph Nathaniel Harris, 44, pleaded guilty in May to one count of 
health care-related theft after he stole computer equipment from his 
former employer, including a DVD that contained patients' names, Social 
Security numbers, medical diagnoses and other information, the U.S. 
attorney's office said.

Harris was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in San Jose to 21 
months in prison and three years of supervised release. Judge Jeremy 
Fogel also ordered him to pay $145,154 in restitution.

Harris, now an Anaheim resident, was directed to begin his sentence Jan. 
4.

Harris worked as the branch manager of the San Jose Medical Group's 
McKee clinic at 227 Jackson Ave. in August and September 2004, court 
records said.

During that time, "there were several incidents of reported theft of 
money and medications," according to an affidavit by FBI Agent Deborah 
Amrhein. "Because of these suspicions, (CEO Ernie) Wallerstein asked 
Harris to resign. ... Harris complied."

On March 28, 2005, employees discovered computer equipment was missing 
from the medical group's administrative office, including a DVD with 
clinic visit entries and detailed information for 187,000 patients in 
the South Bay, prosecutors said.

Harris kept the DVD but sold the stolen computer equipment, prosecutors 
said. FBI agents later found the DVD in Harris' car. He was charged in 
January 2006 with the theft.

During his employment at the medical group, Harris "bragged to fellow 
employees of his experience as a Green Beret, in military security and 
about his side business selling used computers," Amrhein wrote in the 
affidavit.

After Harris resigned, there were six burglaries at three San Jose 
Medical Group offices. Amrhein also reported that Harris had been fired 
from a 2003 job at the Silicon Valley Children's Fund for conducting 
personal business, including selling computers on Craigslist, on company 
time.

After he was fired from that job, there was a burglary at the Children's 
Fund offices and two computers were stolen, according to court 
documents.


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