Made-up hospital records found at several city-run facilities hide abuses

City officials discovered fictional records when probing whether Kings County Hospital staffers failed to protect an "at risk" patient who was raped there, the Daily News has learned. The latest incident took place three weeks ago - a year after the discovery of made-up records in the case of Esmin Green, the Brooklyn woman whose shameful death at Kings County was recorded on video. This time, the incident involves one patient raping another over the July 4 weekend in the new psych ward at Kings County. Green died on the old ward on June 18, 2008. Green's death became a national disgrace when video surfaced showing workers paying no attention as she lay dying on the floor. That contradicted records claiming Green was fine. After Green's death, the city's Health & Hospitals Corp. (HHC) implemented top-to-bottom reforms, including hiring more staff and opening a new ward. Sources familiar with the new investigation say the female patient was declared "at risk" when she arrived at the hospital. That means she was to be monitored all the time. The hospital also was aware the male patient had been involved in a previous sex assault in a prior admission to Kings County, the source said. Sources say before the rape, a hospital staffer found the male patient in the female patient's bedroom, although HHC officials say the man was found in the "women's unit" at the psych ward. The staffer kicked the male patient out, but sources say he didn't tell anyone about this at shift change. The woman reported the rape two days after it occurred. HHC says Kings County immediately notified police and began an investigation. The male patient was then arrested. That investigation revealed what appeared to be fictional entries made in hospital records identifying the supposed location of the female patient at specific times, sources said. Responding to questions from The News, HHC said the hospital's investigation "revealed that there was only one Continue Reading

DA pursuing biz records in Astor case

Brooke Astor's son won't face a jury for at least another week as prosecutors try to get business records related to his mother's fortune.The trial, which was due to start Monday, was put off until at least March 2 as prosecutors yesterday appealed a ruling by the trial judge denying them access to Marshall's documents. "We need that issue to be resolved before we go to trial," Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Loewy said as she notified trial judge Kirke Bartley of the appeal. The records detail how Marshall handled his late mother's $200 million fortune. Lawyers for the 84-year-old Marshall, who is in ill health, labeled the prosecution's move a delaying tactic. "Are they afraid to start the trial?" lawyer Fred Hafetz demanded. Marshall has claimed his mother's fortune grew under his watch. Prosecutors claim he systematically stole money from the Alzheimer's-stricken Astor in the years before her 2007 death, at age 105. Meanwhile, Bartley denied a request by Marshall's co-defendant, lawyer Francis Morrissey, that the men be tried separately. Melissa Grace Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Record food prices call for new tricks

The story: Food prices hit a record, and Elize Joseph of Brooklyn says it's tough. "I think it's affecting everybody. To spend $40 on groceries is nothing. It doesn't go a long way," she says.In other words: I stretch dollars by tricking the kids. For instance, I cut up some cardboard, put salt on it and told my 2-year-old it was potato chips. She got most of them down. But the 6-year-old, he's too smart. Even with a little cinnamon on top, he knew the "rice pudding" was really just his sister's coagulated Cheerios left over from the day before. When the dog walked away, I said what the heck, and choked it down. The story: Ex-President Jimmy (Maybe I've Picked One Too Many Peanuts) Carter meets with Hamas leaders who long for the destruction of Israel. Says Carter, "It's very important that at least someone meet with the Hamas leaders to express their view." In other words: I've gotta make peace in the Mideast, and I'm gonna do it just as soon as I free those dern Iranian Embassy hostages. Hang in there, folks, I've got a new plan. It's my best idea since '81! The story: Brooklyn Judge Jack Battaglia wants to sue the city for $1 million after slipping on a just-mopped courthouse floor. The suit's not as crazy as it sounds, says Prof. Doug Muzzio. "If the city in some way was negligent, the fact that he is a judge shouldn't preclude him from suing," he says. In other words: Judges are paid so little I'm surprised there aren't swarms of them wandering the halls looking for unattended mops, brooms, loose tiles, broken steps, rusted railings and dangling wires. Judges might unite. They could send around e-mails saying something like "3rd flr rstrm, BIG PUDDLE! Hurry, janitor already notified!" The story: Gov. Paterson makes six figures but gives only 150 bucks to charity. A spokesman (surprise) did not respond to a request for an explanation. In other words: It's my money and I'm keeping it - not to be mean, but so that the poor learn to help themselves. Read about it Continue Reading

How to keep your phone records private

In the latest of a series of small victories for privacy, a federal judge has ordered a Wyoming company to stop selling confidential consumer phone records without the consumers' knowledge or consent. Late last month, U.S. District Judge William Downes of Wyoming barred AccuSearch and its principal, Jay Patel, from selling the records on a Web site called The judge further ordered the company to turn over nearly $200,000 generated from the sale of the records and notify all consumers affected by the privacy breach. The Federal Trade Commission filed suit nearly two years ago against and several other Web-based businesses that marketed confidential phone records - including details of outgoing and incoming calls - to their clients on the Internet for a fee. It's already successfully settled two of those cases and obtained a default judgment in a third. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 states that customers' phone records are their private property and can be disclosed only to the customer or with the approval of the customer. But the FTC alleged companies like obtained the information from third parties, which obtained them through "false pretenses, fraudulent statements, fraudulent, stolen documents or other misrepresentations." Obtaining personal information under false circumstances is known as pretexting. Pretexters sell your information to people who may use it to get credit in your name, steal your assets or to investigate or sue you, the FTC stated. Consequently, the court ruled, the sale of the records created a menace to consumers because it potentially exposed them to stalkers, identity thieves and the costs of changing phone carriers. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) said there are steps consumers can take to protect themselves:   Make sure the phone is in your name. If the name of anyone else is on the bill, that person has access to your records.   Put a password Continue Reading

Jim Leyritz wasted millions on booze, records show

Troubled ex-Yankee Jim Leyritz burned through thousands of dollars by buying high-priced booze and partying at expensive nightclubs, court papers reveal.The glimpse into Leyritz's 2003 financial records shows he spent large amounts of money on alcohol, swank clubs and ritzy hotels in Florida, New York and beyond. The former catcher also struck out on his finances, watching more than $10 million he earned over 11 years in the majors shrink to about $600,000, records show. The Daily News obtained the papers on the same day Fredia Ann Veitch, the 30-year-old Florida mother Leyritz killed in an alleged drunken-driving wreck, was remembered during an emotional memorial service. "He shouldn't have been on the road," fumed Veitch's friend Jim Georges, 35. "It's an outrage." In the divorce papers Leyritz filed in Florida when leaving his second wife, Karrie, the hard-partying catcher claimed nearly all of his money had disappeared because of exorbitant taxes and a shady financial adviser. His financial records from August 2003 to December 2003 tell a different story.On a two-week trip to New York in October, he dropped thousands of dollars at the China Club, Tao, Elaine's and other nightspots. He also spent more than $3,000 at the Shelburne Murray Hill hotel. In Florida, Leyritz blew through hundreds of dollars at liquor stores, including Fine Spirits in Cooper City. One day that August, he spent $256.23 there on alcohol. He returned two days later to buy an additional $169.53 worth of booze. The revelations were met with disgust by the hundreds of loved ones who poured into the Unity Church in Hollywood, Fla., to pay tribute to Veitch. The mother of two was killed when a drunken Leyritz ran a red light and slammed his SUV into her Mitsubishi Montero in Fort Lauderdale, police said. Leyritz had just left his 44th birthday party, and Veitch was returning home from her steakhouse job. Leyritz is facing charges of manslaughter and drunken driving. If convicted, he could be Continue Reading

‘The Judge’ nearing record

This November, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown will be poised to become the longest-tenured Queens district attorney in history - headed for his 20th anniversary in office upon completion of his upcoming four-year term. As the only candidate on the Nov. 6 ballot, and with the backing of the Democratic, Republican and Conservative parties, the candidate affectionately known as "The Judge" appears guaranteed a fifth term. And he shows no sign of stopping there. "I've certainly had 16 good years here, which I've enjoyed immensely," said Brown, 74. "I look forward to serving as the district attorney in the years to come." By the last year of his term, in 2011, Brown will surpass the longevity of the current recordholder, Benjamin Downing, who served from 1865-1883 before being ousted by then-New York Gov. Grover Cleveland. Although Downing served almost two centuries ago, his career arc could have been ripped from today's headlines. His 19-year term ended in disgrace after he was convicted of accepting a $200 bribe in connection with a prominent homicide case his office was prosecuting. The second-longest serving district attorney, Charles Sullivan, served from 1935-1951. "In all those years, in 230 years of the history of this county, he'll be the first," said Jeff Gottlieb, president of the Queens Historical Association, who discovered the record and notified Brown's office. "He has distinguished himself." As Brown sat in his office last week surrounded by a thicket of memorabilia, honorary plaques, news clippings and photos from his almost five decades in public office, he rattled off high-profile cases from his past and present with ease. He spoke in his authoritative growl about the Wendy's murder case, soon to be coming up for appeal, the upcoming trial of NYPD shooting victim Sean Bell and the alleged rape case of City Councilman Dennis Gallagher. It seemed the only thing Brown had a hard time remembering was how old he was when he took Continue Reading

Cyber-attacker ‘bombs’ Memphis medical records, seeks ransom

Some Russian-speaking individual or entity somehow got the log-in and password for the Primary Care Specialists' computers on Feb. 27, when the cyber-attackers accessed the servers holding thousands of patient medical records.The access lasted less than five minutes, but that was long enough for the invaders to encrypt all the information in the two old data servers, essentially rendering many years' worth of records unreadable and unusable to the family-medicine practice at 3109 Walnut Grove, said Adam Berkenstock, information technology manager there.The still-anonymous criminals offered to give the medical office keys to make the encrypted information readable again, but in return for a ransom of thousands of dollars, Berkenstock said.They instructed that the money be converted and delivered as bitcoins, the digital currency that flows through no central authority. Primary Care Specialists refused to pay, Berkenstock said. The practice notified the federal Health & Human Services for an investigation.In the scripted, or automated ransom ransom message, the attackers did not make reference to the patients' private health information. But in the short time of access, "they got on and set off a 'bomb' that encrypted gigabytes of information,'' Berkenstock said.The affected information includes historical medical records dating before about 18 months ago, when the 25-year-old practice had switched over to a new data system. So, records involving new patients or patient visits over the past year-and-a-half are not affected.The practice will be able to work around the loss of the older records, Berkenstock said. "We can still request information about patients from other doctors, if that's what's needed,'' he said."And beyond that, the practice has changed a lot since (18 months ago). About two years ago, we serviced five or six nursing homes. We don't service those nursing homes Continue Reading

Records: Energy Department struck by cyber attacks

Corrections & clarifications: An earlier version of this story contained conflicting information about the number of successful cyber intrusions involving the U.S. Department of Energy from October 2010 to October 2014. Records show 159 successful cyber intrusions.Cyber attackers successfully compromised the security of U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014, according to a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY.Incident reports submitted by federal officials and contractors since late 2010 to the Energy Department's Joint Cybersecurity Coordination Center shows a near-consistent barrage of attempts to breach the security of critical information systems that contain sensitive data about the nation's power grid, nuclear weapons stockpile and energy labs.The records, obtained by USA TODAY through the Freedom of Information Act, show DOE components reported a total of 1,131 cyberattacks over a 48-month period ending in October 2014. Of those attempted cyber intrusions, 159 were successful."The potential for an adversary to disrupt, shut down (power systems), or worse … is real here," said Scott White, Professor of Homeland Security and Security Management and Director of the Computing Security and Technology program at Drexel University. "It's absolutely real."Energy Department officials would not say whether any sensitive data related to the operation and security of the nation's power grid or nuclear weapons stockpile was accessed or stolen in any of the attacks, or whether foreign governments are believed to have been involved."DOE does not comment on ongoing investigations or possible attributions of malicious activity," Energy Department spokesman Andrew Gumbiner said in a statement.In all cases of malicious cybersecurity activity, Gumbiner said the Energy Department "seeks to identify indicators of compromise and other cybersecurity relevant information, which it then shares Continue Reading

A BUSH-LEAGUE RECORD. National Guard plan won’t remedy years of neglect on illegals

Each year, from 700,000 to 1 million illegal immigrants enter the United States, according to estimates. Since George Bush has been President for more than five years, that means as many as 5 million people have come here illegally on his watch. Now he says he wants to change that. He should just do it. Then we'll know he means it. Bush's speech Monday night met with tepid reviews for good reason. He comes to the issue with almost no credibility, and his job approval ratings are in the tank across the board. While his proposals were more than the proverbial bucket of warm spit, they don't add up to a convincing case for a sweeping new immigration law. Worse, his sudden interest in border enforcement reeked of a death-bed conversion. His hope is by drafting the National Guard for support roles, he would convince the doubters, including many in his own party, that he is finally serious about stopping the flood of illegal immigrants. Then he would get what he really wants - a guest worker program and a path to legalization for the 11 million or so illegal immigrants already here. He doesn't deserve that deal, and won't get it, because the National Guard idea is half-baked and because of his track record. It's a record of all talk and no action on immigration. In 2004, for example, Bush signed a law that included an increase of 2,000 border agents a year for each of four years, starting this year. But he hired only about 210 agents, according to one report. Ditto for increasing detention beds, where the administration has fallen far short of its promises. Bush should remember what Pogo said: "We have met the enemy, and he is us." The same "us" has been especially lax at enforcing sanctions against employers, something else he now declares he is serious about. Despite the millions of illegal immigrants working in the U.S., less than 1% of immigration enforcement personnel focus on work sites. In 1998, 14,000 illegal immigrants were arrested at jobs; by Continue Reading

Bronx hospital employee sold patient records to scammers who made purchases at high-end retailers: officials

Patient financial records at Montefiore Medical Center were sold for $3-a-pop by an assistant clerk who compromised more than 12,500 patients’ files, officials said Friday. Bronx hospital worker Monique Walker, 32, was the source of the stolen information between January and June 2013 and filtered it to others to make purchases at Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Macy’s and other high-end retailers in Manhattan, attempting to avoid detection by using store credit and gift cards. At least $50,000 in fraudulent purchases stemming from the breach at the Bronx hospital have been identified, but prosecutors are still investigating the scope of the crime. Walker fed the bargain-rate names, Social Security numbers, credit card information, birth dates and other information to ringleader Fernando Salazar, 28, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said. The buyers swept up in the probe include Patricia Charles, 43, Lawrence Davenport-Brown, 23 and Charde Lawrence, 28, of Staten Island, Ashly Garrett, 25, of Queens, Sasha Rivera, 31, of Brooklyn, and Crystal White, 32, of the Bronx. They all face charges including grand larceny, possession of a forged instrument, identity theft, unlawful possession of personal identification information and related counts. Montefiore said it is notifying affected patients by letter. They are offering free identity protection services to those patients and are “fully cooperating” with law enforcement. “The employee was fired, arrested and is now being prosecuted for this crime,” spokeswoman Lisa MacKenzie said in a statement. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading