SINGAPORE: The American who is suspected of leaking the personal information of 14,200 people from Singapore's HIV registry has been traced to a small county in Kentucky, US, where he has been charged with trying to trespass into his mother's house.
Mikhy K Farrera-Brochez, 34, was arrested at his mother’s house in Clark County in December last year, according to court and arrest documents seen by Channel NewsAsia.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health announced on Monday (Jan 28) that Brochez had leaked the personal information of 14,200 HIV sufferers online.
The former lecturer was jailed in 2016 for lying about his HIV status to gain an employment pass in Singapore.
Brochez, who was also convicted of fraud and drug-related offences, was sentenced to 28 months behind bars.
In April last year, he was deported from Singapore, but is now wanted again in connection with the data leak.
“We are seeking the assistance of our foreign counterparts in our investigations. It is inappropriate to comment on the case further as investigations are ongoing,” the Singapore Police Force said in a statement, without specifying any country.
Ms Camille Dawson, the spokesperson for the US Embassy in Singapore, said the embassy could not comment on ongoing investigations.
TRESPASS AND ARREST
Brochez was arrested on Dec 8 last year at his mother Teresa King's home in Clark County, after she rang the local sheriff's office to complain that he was banging on her door.
Brochez had been warned on Sep 29 not to return to his mother’s property after he tried to force his way in, or face being arrested for criminal trespass. But he returned on Dec 8 to her home.
“Upon arrival, this deputy observed the above suspect [Brochez] sitting on the porch of the residence,” the arrest citation said.
“After talking with T. King, she advised that she did not want the above suspect on her property and that he had been warned in the past not to be on the property.
“This deputy informed the suspect about the past warning and the suspect was instructed to leave numerous times but the suspect kept wanting to ask about the property that T. King had of his and wanting to talk to the sheriff.”
He was then arrested, placed into custody and taken to the Clark County Detention Centre. A spokesman for the detention centre confirmed with Channel NewsAsia that Brochez had been arrested and is on bail.
Brochez has been ordered to appear before the district court on Feb 18 to face the charge of third-degree criminal trespass.
The records leaked online were of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV from 1985 to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners, including work and visit pass applicants and holders, diagnosed with HIV from 1985 to December 2011.
It included their names, identification numbers, phone numbers, addresses, HIV test results and medical information.
MOH said the information was leaked by and is still in the possession of Brochez, an HIV-positive American who lived in Singapore from 2008.
He was in a romantic relationship with Ler Teck Siang, a male Singaporean doctor who was the head of the National Public Health Unit at MOH between March 2012 and May 2013.
They started living together in Singapore in 2008, before getting married in New York City on Apr 24, 2014.
Ler had authority to access information from the HIV registry, and he is believed to have mishandled the information and is suspected of not having complied with the policies and guidelines on the handling of such confidential information. He resigned in January 2014.
In May 2016, MOH lodged a police report after receiving information that Brochez still had the confidential information from the registry.
By then, Brochez had been remanded in prison and sentenced to 28 months behind bars. He was deported last year, and MOH received information he still had part of the records.
While the information was not yet public at that time, police were informed and the affected individuals were contacted.
But on Jan 22, MOH was told by the police that Brochez still had part of the information and it had now been leaked online.
WHO IS BROCHEZ?
Brochez had duped the Ministry of Manpower into issuing him an employment pass after arriving from America in 2008.
On two separate occasions, Ler gave a sample of his own blood to be submitted as Brochez’s so the American could hide his HIV status.
But the ruse was discovered, and when the police raided their properties, they found several fake education certificates purportedly issued to him.
These included a linguistics degree from Vanderbilt University, a Master’s degree in developmental and child psychology as well as a doctorate in psychology and education from the University of Paris. A professional teaching certificate was also seized. Investigations showed they were all forged.
A Bahamian passport, with the name Malatesta da Farrera-Brochez, was also found in a safe.
Brochez had given presentations and talks at several international conferences for academia and research. In a 2010 interview with a local newspaper, he claimed he spoke eight languages and was a “successful laboratory rat” of his mother, a Teresa King, who was supposedly a renowned professor of child and adolescent psychology in the UK.
But there was no psychologist in the UK with such qualifications. When British daily The Independent contacted a UK-registered psychologist who qualified under the name given by Brochez, she said Brochez was not her son and she did not have any specialisation in that particular area.