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American man jailed in US over Singapore HIV data leak

Published Date : September 30, 2019

SINGAPORE, Sept 30 (AFP) – An American man who leaked confidential details of thousands of HIV-positive people in Singapore, most of them foreigners, has been jailed in the United States for two years.

Mikhy Farrera Brochez was convicted by a Kentucky court in June for trying to extort the Singapore government using the stolen data.

The 34-year-old had obtained the data from his partner, a senior Singaporean doctor who also helped Brochez conceal his HIV-positive status to get a work permit for the city-state.

Confidential information including the names and addresses of 14,200 people diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS was dumped online.

The leak caused anxiety among those with HIV, who have long complained of facing prejudice in socially conservative Singapore.

Brochez was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison on Friday, said a statement from the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Kentucky.

“The defendant’s conduct was serious and significant, affecting thousands of people across the world,” said US Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr.

The data included information on more than 50 American citizens, the statement said.

Brochez will also be placed under supervision for three years after his release.

He was jailed in Singapore in 2016 for lying about his HIV status, drug-related offences and fraud.

He was deported in 2018 and then news emerged of the data leak, prompting his arrest in the US.

Trial testimony showed that Brochez emailed the data to his mother in Kentucky and retrieved the information upon his return.

Foreigners with HIV were for many years not allowed to set foot in Singapore at all.

In 2015, authorities began allowing foreigners with the virus to make short visits, but those seeking to work in Singapore must still pass a HIV test.

The data leak was the second major breach of confidential information disclosed within months, after the health records of about 1.5 million Singaporeans were stolen by hackers last year.

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