• United States



by Dave Gradijan

Computerworld: Patient Charged in Computer Theft from Indiana VA Center

Mar 20, 20082 mins
Build AutomationCSO and CISO

A one-time patient at the Richard Roudebush VA medical center in Indianapolis has been charged with stealing a hospital computer last November that contained confidential information on nearly 12,000 veterans. But the missing computer itself has still not been recovered.

In a probable cause affidavit filed earlier this week, Marion County prosecutor Carl Brizzi charged Joseph Radican with one count of felony theft of computer equipment from the Roudebush center.

Two desktop PCs, one laptop, two monitors and a printer were stolen from the facility over the Veterans Day weekend. One of the desktops contained records belonging to patients who were treated at the hospital. The data, which is believed to have been encrypted, included patient names, Social Security Numbers and their dates of birth.

According to the affidavit, Radican was identified from surveillance video recorded at the time of the theft. He was then a patient at the facility.

A search of Radican’s home did not turn up the laptop with the confidential information on it, nor did investigators find the other computers and peripherals also stolen from the hospital in November.

However, interviews with employees at pawn shops frequented by Radican show that at one shop he tried to sell a computer and monitor that match a description of the stolen equipment, the affidavit said. The pawn shop owner refused to accept the equipment because Radican could not show it belonged to him.

The theft continued a string of such incidents disclosed by the VA following the loss of a laptop and hard disk drive containing personal data on more than 26.5 million veterans in May 2006.

Similarly, in August 2006 — at the height of the uproar over the May 2006 breach — the VA disclosed that Unisys Corp. a subcontractor hired to assist in insurance collections for VA medical centers in Pittsburgh had reported a missing computer containing personal data on more than 16,000 veterans.

In January 2007, an IT specialist at a VA medical center in Birmingham, Ala. reported as missing a hard disk containing personal data on more than 250,000 veterans and an additional 1.3 million medical providers.

By Jaikumar Vijayan. Computerworld (US online)