American in HIV data leak arrested in US

American in HIV data leak arrested in US
PHOTO: Clark County Sheriff Office

He is due in court next month for allegedly trying to trespass into mum's home

The man wanted for leaking confidential information from the Health Ministry's (MOH) HIV Registry is set to appear in a US court in Kentucky on Feb 18, for allegedly trying to trespass into his mother's house.

Mikhy Farrera Brochez, 34, will face a third-degree criminal trespass charge, punishable under Kentucky law by a fine of not more than US$250 (S$340).

Brochez was arrested on Dec 8 last year at his mother Teresa King's home in Kentucky's Clark County, according to court and arrest documents seen by Channel NewsAsia (CNA).

He was banging on her door and she called the local sheriff's office to complain.

Brochez's arrest citation said he was instructed to leave many times, but he kept wanting to speak to the sheriff and to ask his mother about property he claimed belonged to him.

Brochez had previously tried to force his way into his mother's home in September and was warned not return.

A spokesman for the county detention centre told CNA that Brochez is now out on bail.

The American is wanted here for stealing MOH records of 14,200 HIV-positive individuals and leaking them online.

The former polytechnic lecturer was jailed in 2017 for lying about his HIV status, forging his academic credentials and drug-related offences.

In a 2009 interview with The New Paper, Brochez claimed his mother was a renowned professor of child and adolescent psychology in Britain.

He also claimed that he was a child prodigy who enrolled into Princeton University at age 13.

Brochez was deported after finishing his 28-month sentence in April last year.

A month later, MOH learnt that Brochez was still in possession of the records, which were then leaked on Jan 22 this year.

Police here are now seeking the assistance of their foreign counterparts in their investigations.

EXTRADITION?

Lawyers told TNP that Brochez's arrest and upcoming court date in the US could open up the possibility of him being extradited to Singapore, though they cautioned it will not be straightforward.

If charged here, he could potentially face multiple offences under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), the Computer Misuse Act and even theft-related offences under the Penal Code.

Lawyer Gloria James-Civetta said: "First, Brochez must be located and arrested. Next, the US courts will determine whether the extradition request meets the requirements of the US-Singapore extradition treaty."

If so, the US Secretary of State may then issue a surrender order if the requested US state is ready to surrender him.

Singapore Management University's law don Eugene Tan said OSA does not just apply to Singaporeans, but the difficulty is that the dissemination of stolen data took place outside of Singapore.

"The authorities will probably have to charge Brochez under a relevant law that provides for extra-territorial reach and which is also an offence in the jurisdiction from which Singapore is seeking extradition from," he said, citing the Personal Data Protection Act as one possibility.

Peter Low and Choo's Andre Jumabhoy noted that Singapore's extradition treaty with the US was entered into in 1931, when Singapore was still a British colony.

As such, a foreseeable difficulty is that Brochez's potential offence may not form part of the list of "extraditable" offences under the extradition treaty.

The lawyer added: "It may be possible to allege theft or receiving of stolen property, but that would depend on whether such information would amount to 'property' under US law."

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.

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