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Ex-hospital worker convicted in patient record leaks dies

Prosecutors are moving to dismiss the case against the UCLA Medical Center employee, who had sold information about celebrities to the National Enquirer.

May 09, 2009|Associated Press

The U.S. attorney's office says it is moving to dismiss a case against a former UCLA Medical Center employee who died after pleading guilty to selling medical records of celebrities.

Lawanda Jackson, 50, had been scheduled for sentencing Monday after pleading guilty in December to the felony charge of violating federal medical privacy law for commercial purposes.

Jackson sold information from the records of Britney Spears, Farrah Fawcett and other high-profile patients to the National Enquirer, authorities said. The publication has not been charged.

Court papers filed by prosecutors Thursday moved to dismiss the indictment against Jackson, saying the government had received a copy of her death certificate.

The cause of death was not disclosed in the document.

Jackson's federal public defender, Angel Navarro, said she died March 24 from complications of breast cancer.

He said she regretted her offense. "She was a nice lady who made a bad decision for a little bit of money," he said, adding that Jackson was married with a teenage daughter.

Jackson could have faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but was expected to receive probation as a result of her plea agreement, Navarro said.

Jackson worked as an administrative specialist at the UCLA hospital for 32 years and in recent years began using her supervisor's password to access medical records inappropriately, authorities said.

The tabloid deposited checks totaling at least $4,600 into her husband's checking account beginning in 2006, prosecutors said. Jackson resigned in July 2007 before she could be fired.

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