A federal grand jury indicted the former branch manager of a medical service organization in San Jose, Calif., accusing him of stealing computer equipment that contained sensitive medical and personal information on about 200,000 patients. According to prosecutors, San Jose Medical Group asked Joseph Nathaniel Harris to resign in fall 2004, and several months later the group discovered that it was missing computer equipment, including a DVD with patient names and Social Security numbers. FBI agents questioned Harris and found the DVD in his car, prosecutors said. Harris was charged with one count of theft in connection with healthcare. He could not be charged under the criminal provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act because he is not a "covered entity." An attorney for Harris declined to comment on the case. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 23. -- by Joseph Conn
Charge filed in Calif. computer-equipment case
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