Former call center employee sentenced

Published 2:26 pm Friday, December 11, 2020

U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced Thursday that Colbi Trent Defiore, 27, of Carriere, Miss., was sentenced to 42 months imprisonment, three years of supervised release and payment of a $100 special assessment fee, after previously pleading guilty to stealing personal information from more than 8,000 individuals and using that information to incur more than $587,000 in losses.

U.S. District Judge Jay A. Zainey scheduled a hearing on Jan. 12, 2021, to determine the amount of restitution Defiore must repay.

According to court documents, Defiore worked as a seasonal employee for a Virginia-based company in the technology sector that supported the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by operating contact centers to assist with, among other things, Medicare enrollment. One of the centers, at which Defiore worked, was located in Bogalusa.

According to documents, that company took a series of security measures to protect consumers’ personal identifying information (PII), including requiring all employees to undergo training on how to handle consumers’ PII appropriately.

On numerous occasions in November of 2018, Defiore reportedly accessed and obtained — without authorization — the personal identifying information of more than 8,000 individuals, by improperly accessing the healthcare.gov database. According to court documents, Defiore did so for the purpose of his private financial gain and in furtherance of criminal acts, including wire fraud.

Specifically, Defiore reportedly conducted “bulk searches” of the database, which he was prohibited from doing, and was able to view the personal information of healthcare.gov customers. Defiore then reportedly copied the results of his searches onto a virtual clipboard and sent them to himself via email. After work hours, Defiore accessed the company’s network remotely without authorization to retrieve his work email.

According to court documents, Defiore used the personal information of at least five consumers to apply fraudulently for at least six credit cards, loans, and lines of credit for his personal benefit. In total, Defiore’s conduct caused reasonably foreseeable loss to the companies that operated the call center — including costs associated with responding to the offense, conducting a damage assessment, responding to and remediating damage, contacting consumers who were potential victims, and providing theft protection services for consumer-victims, in the amount of $587,000.

U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Ginsberg is in charge of the prosecution.