DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Crime

Celebrity Medical Records Indictment

UCLA Medical Center worker charged with selling files to media outlet

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Celebrity Medical Records Indictment

APRIL 29--A former employee of the UCLA Medical Center was indicted today for allegedly accessing the confidential medical records of celebrity patients and selling them to a 'national media outlet,' according to a federal indictment unsealed today.

Lawanda Jackson, 49, was charged with obtaining the information between 2006 and May 21, 2007, when she was terminated from her position as an administrative specialist at the Los Angeles hospital. According to the U.S. District Court indictment, a copy of which you'll find here, the media outlet paid Jackson at least $4600 for the information (the outlet wrote checks to her husband).

The indictment does not specify which celebrities had their privacy violated by these leaks, nor does it name the media outlet (though it is widely suspected that the National Enquirer was paying for the medical information). In an interview with the Los Angeles Times earlier this month, Jackson acknowledged accessing the UCLA records, adding that she was simply being 'nosy' and did not sell information from the electronic files. The Times reported that Jackson allegedly reviewed the records of 33 well-known patients, including actress Farrah Fawcett and Maria Shriver, wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

If convicted of a felony charge of illegally obtaining individually identifiable health information for commercial advantage, Jackson faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. (3 pages)