Frank A. Rubino , ESQ.

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Health department officials accused of tax fraud

Two health department officials are facing serious accusations in a tax fraud case. The two officials accused in the case work for Florida's Orange County Health Department. They were recently arrested and charged with committing tax fraud. An accomplice has also been charged, though the name of that individual has not been released to the public yet.

According to investigators, the two Health Department employees and their accomplice used information that they got through their access to electronic patient records. Thousands of such records are said to have been compromised in the scheme, with the patients' personal data taken and used for fraudulent purposes.

Allegations claim that the employees took the data and gave it to one of their relatives, who filed fraudulent returns. That relative, the accomplice in the case, had his home searched for evidence by investigators. They found a handwritten list that included at least 148 names, along with the personal information associated with the people listed. The names correlated to the accessed electronic patient records.

Information taken included Social Security numbers and birth dates. The Orange County Health Department informed affected patients as quickly as possible, so they could be fully aware of the situation. All of those patients have been advised to closely monitor their recent credit history and be on the watch for anomalies.

The Health Department has also pledged their full cooperation to investigators as the case is built. They are also reviewing the facts of the case to increase their security measures in relation to electronic patient records. That way, they can decrease the probability of something like this occurring again.

Tax crime cases affect people throughout Florida every year. It is important to remember, though, that those people who are charged in connection with such cases are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Defendants in criminal cases have rights and criminal defense attorneys ensure those rights are protected while presenting the strongest case possible on their clients' behalf.

Source: SC Magazine, "Florida health department employees stole data, committed tax fraud" Adam Greenberg, Oct. 31, 2013

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