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By Tulsi Patil for KTUU.com
An Anchorage woman was sentenced to two years in federal prison Monday for violations to medical privacy laws, U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler’s office announced in a press release.
According to prosecutors, 33-year-old Stacy Laulu was a financial counselor at Providence Hospital in March, 2013 when she was contacted by Stuart Seugasala who asked her to access private medical records of two patients at the hospital.
Seugasala was a video game parlor owner at the time and was also trafficking drugs on the side. On March 13, 2013, Seugasala and two others kidnapped, tortured and sexually assaulted two men who owed them money. The condition of one of the victims was so severe that he was admitted to Providence Hospital for treatment.
Two days later, on March 15, in an unrelated incident, Seugasala put another person in the hospital when he shot at a person driving on Seward Highway. The victim suffered from a severed fingertip and a neck-graze wound and was also admitted to Providence Hospital for treatment.
Prosecutors wrote that Seugasala then contacted Laulu and asked her to take a look at their private medical records.
“Laulu determined the identity of one of the victims (one of whom was still hospitalized) and provided Seugasala with confidential information about the victims, including what they had told hospital staff about how they sustained their injuries, the severity of the injuries and what was reflected in hospital records about their cooperation with law enforcement,” prosecutors wrote.
Laulu communicated all the information to Seugasala via text messages and police seized her phone at the request of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Laulu admitted to sending the information to Seugasala and Providence Hospital terminated her employment.
“Evidence at the trial established that Laulu’s husband was a close friend and former co-defendant with Seugasala in a federal drug case,” prosecutors wrote. “Witnesses at Seugasala’s and Laulu’s trial testified that, at times, Seugasala would arrange to drop off drug proceeds for Laulu and her husband’s benefit.”
Laulu was sentenced to two years in prison for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Prosecutors wrote in the press release that this case was the first felony HIPAA prosecution in Alaskan history and one of the few in the country.
Seugasala was sentenced to life imprisonment on May 18.