X-Ray Disposal Scams Go International as Silver Prices Climb

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As thorough as they are, current discussions about securing electronic health records to protect patient privacy seldom touch on what to do in the event of a grand-scale theft of physical media that is already marked for disposal.

A Toronto, Ontario, Canada man pled guilty last week to deceitfully obtaining 54,000 x-rays, from which he planned to extract raw silver that could have netted him anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000.

Billy Demitro, 37, was arrested March 16 near Smiths Falls, Ontario, with a U-Haul full of discarded x-rays. Earlier that day, he had tried to add to his haul at the CML Healthcare medical imaging lab in Ottawa.

Posing as an employee of a recycling company, Demitro tried to take possession of x-rays that were scheduled to be destroyed. When he couldn’t produce ID, a technologist tipped off police.

Prosecutors say they do not believe Demitro had intended to do anything nefarious with the personal information contained on the scans.

Demitro, who will likely plead to additional charges at his June 7 sentencing hearing, “was ordered to stay away from medical imaging clinics unless he needed an X-ray himself,” reports the Ottawa Citizen.

A similar scam was reported in Huntsville, AL last week, and a Maryland hospital faced such a theft in November 2011.