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Feds, State Investigate After Medical Records Found In Firm's Garbage Bin

(CBS) -- Federal authorities will be in Northbrook on Friday, investigating a massive breach of medical and personal records first exposed by CBS 2's Dave Savini.

The Illinois Attorney General also is investigating the dumping of thousands of confidential records at a company called Filefax.

"It's the Holy Grail of what an identity thief is after," Attorney General Lisa Madigan says. "It's just sitting out there in a Dumpster, so it's both illegal as well as just being horrific."

Keith Schuler's medical records, and his wife Anna's personal information, were left vulnerable in the dumpster.

"I am appalled because I work in the medical field, and I know how important it is to take care of those documents," Anna Schuler said.

Filefax is being investigated for federal HIPAA and state privacy law violations, for publicly dumping patient records from Suburban Lung Associates.

CBS 2 contacted police to secure the dumpster after uncovering the security breach of patient files, like those of Diane Scarpelli.

"Thank goodness it was you who picked it up and not some random person on the street," Scarpelli said.

Actually a week before, CBS 2 found the Dumpster full, a woman collecting paper found 1,000 pounds of records and brought it to a recycler. She says the company gave her permission.

Attorney Kevin Conway represents Diane Scarpelli and is considering taking legal action against Filefax.

"It's outrageous and disappointing," he says.

Filefax refused comment.

Suburban Lung Associates is working with authorities and says Filefax, as their vendor, was supposed to follow all medical record HIPAA laws and policies.

Madigan says  the organization's former patients should check their credit reports to see if they have been compromised.

For more information about documented medical information breaches, click here. 

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