Crime

He took secret health data from another country. A Lexington judge sent him to prison.

Mikhy Farrera-Brochez
Mikhy Farrera-Brochez Mugshots.com

A Winchester man who leaked HIV records of 14,000 people in Singapore was sentenced by a federal court judge in Lexington Friday.

Mikhy Farrera-Brochez was sentenced to 2 years in prison by Judge Danny Reeves, who said in court Friday that Farrera-Brochez is willing to harm everyone who doesn’t agree with him. In June, Farrera-Brochez was convicted by a jury of two counts of sending threatening communications to the government of Singapore and its ministry of health and one count of possessing and transferring the identities of other people in interstate and foreign commerce with the intent to commit or in connection with a crime.

An HIV registry that belonged to the Ministry of Health in Singapore that he gained access to “listed the private identifying and medical information of thousands of people in Singapore living with HIV, including more than 50 U.S. citizens,” according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Farrera-Brochez lied about his own HIV status and served a 28-month prison sentence in Singapore in 2017. When he moved to Singapore in 2008, the country did not allow HIV-positive foreigners. He was able to gain entry into the country and subsequent employment by using blood taken from his then-boyfriend.

His partner, a doctor named Ler Teck Siang, was formerly the head of the country’s Ministry of Health’s National Public Health Unit.

Farrera-Brochez duped Singaporeans by lying about entering Princeton University at 13 years old and becoming “the youngest registered psychologist in the history of the American Psychological Association,” according to The Independent. He gained employment lecturing psychology studies before it was discovered he lied about his educational history.

After Farrera-Brochez was released from jail, he was deported in April 2018 and re-entered the U.S.

In January, the Singapore government was notified by police that the HIV records had been leaked. They contained HIV records of more than 5,000 Singaporeans and nearly 9,000 foreigners.

According to Singapore publication StraitsTimes.com, the registry included each person’s name, identification number, phone number, address, HIV results and other medical information.

Farrera-Brochez, who had the access to the records through his husband, was identified as the leaker in January and was arrested the following month.

His mother testified in June that before her son was jailed in Singapore in 2017, he had electronically sent her the HIV registry. His mother re-sent him the files in 2018, she said in court.

According to court documents, he said he would continue to release the information until the Singapore government stops the HIV registry and his partner be released from prison, where he was after being convicted of drug and fraud crimes.

During a 30-minute statement Friday, Farrera-Brochez repeatedly claimed the case is a conspiracy against him and is “fictional propaganda” by the Singapore government. He said crimes have been committed, but not by him.

Farrera-Brochez argued the existence of the HIV registry was discriminatory because it could be used to charge men who have sex with other men, which is not allowed by law in Singapore. He said he was also trying to bring to light the lack of security in the system, which he said did not have any encryption.

The government of Singapore said in the lawsuit that it had taken steps to make sure that the information in its registry was kept confidential and said that if the data was released, it “will cause irreparable damage to the individuals identified.”

Siang has been charged with not keeping possession of the records.

The prosecution argued that the release of the records made the HIV-positive individuals vulnerable, but Farrera-Brochez denied this, claiming they were already victims of the Singapore government.

Farrera-Brochez showed no remorse or sympathy in leaking the records, the prosecution said Friday.

The maximum fine Farrera-Brochez could have faced was $250,000, but the judge instead gave him a $4,000 fine. Reeves said he did not believe the man would have been able to pay a large fine.

Judge Reeves said a 24-month term is “necessary.” Farrera-Brochez was given two-year sentences for each of the counts he was convicted of, but they will run concurrently.

After his two-year sentence is complete, Farrera-Brochez will have three years of supervised release and will not be allowed to travel outside the U.S. It was also suggested he go through a mental health program.

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