Former HHS employee pleads guilty in data breach

cwinston@thestate.comOctober 8, 2013 

— A former state employee pled guilty in Richland County on Tuesday to stealing confidential records from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Christopher R. Lykes Jr., 38, of Swansea admitted to four counts of willful examination of private records by a public official and one count of criminial conspiracy, Attorney General Alan Wilson announced. All offenses are felonies and are punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.

Lykes, who was indicted in February 2013, date back to early 2012, when Lykes was employed by SCDHHS. The indictments read that Lykes examined confidential records for an unlawful purpose. The other charge stated he was conspiring with someone.

The Attorney General’s Office deferred the sentencing for Lykes until such time as any related cases are concluded.

Lykes was charged with gathering names, phone numbers, addresses, birth dates and Medicare ID numbers for more than 220,000 South Carolinians and sending them to his unsecured, personal email account, according to HHS director Tony Keck.

HHS discovered the breach on April 10, 2012, and fired Lykes the following day after seizing his personal and work computers

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