(Updated at 4:00 p.m. Thursday)
The State Law Enforcement Division has arrested a now-former state employee who is accused of downloading the personal information of more than 228,000 Medicaid recipients to his personal e-mail account.
Christopher Lykes, 36, of Swansea, is charged with a total of six counts related to mishandling of confidential information. This is also a federal HIPAA law violation and the state could be penalized.
Lykes is an executive committeeman with the Democratic Party in Lexington, one of the counties most affected by the breach.
The state Department of Health and Human Services fired Lykes, titled a ”program coordinator” for the agency, after the data transfers were discovered April 10.
The information taken includes names, phone numbers, addresses, birth dates and Medicaid ID numbers, and in 22,604 Medicare cases, the Security number was obtained.
SLED says the data was transferred to at least one other person.
The state is sending personal letters to the affected beneficiaries to notify them of the incident and explain how to protect their information.
More than 90 percent of those affected live in six counties, including Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Lexington, Orangeburg and Richland.
The state is offering a free year of identity protection services to people affected. The cost so far to the agency to remedy the incident is about $1.5 million, said DHHS Director Keck.