Miami Herald: Woman charged with buying Jackson Memorial patient records
Sep 22, 2009
This article was published by the Miami Herald on September 22, 2009
By JAY WEAVER
A Miami cosmetician is set to appear in federal court Wednesday on charges of buying confidential patient records from a Jackson Memorial Hospital employee and selling them to a lawyer suspected of soliciting the patients to file personal-injury claims.
Maria Victoria Suarez was added to an indictment that charges her and husband Ruben E. Rodriguez with paying a JMH ultrasound technician $1,000 a month for the hospital records of hundreds of patients treated for slip-and-fall accidents, car crash injuries, gunshot wounds and stabbings, federal authorities said.
The technician, Rebecca Garcia, a 22-year JMH veteran, has been fired and pleaded guilty in the conspiracy case.
The Rodriguezes brokered the stolen records of patients’ names, addresses, telephone numbers and medical diagnoses to the lawyer over a two-year period, according to the indictment. The lawyer, not identified in court papers, used the information “to improperly solicit JMH patients with hopes of representing them in future legal proceedings.”
In Florida, lawyers are allowed to advertise on TV and billboards and in the Yellow Pages, but are prohibited from soliciting clients by phone or at their home or in the hospital.
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