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Doctor investigated for violating patient privacy rights

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A doctor who has admitted to his role in a major Wisconsin cocaine ring is now being investigated for possibly violating his patients' privacy rights. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services has opened investigations into complaints the doctor has been violating HIPPA and exploiting patients to get out of federal prison time.

The FOX6 Investigators first exposed Dr. Steven Armus in July, after three of his patients were slapped with state drug charges. You can read the story here.

Since then, patients have filed complaints with the state's Medical Examining Board, claiming the doctor used medical records to set up his patients and frame them for selling drugs. Court records show he acted as a confidential informant for federal agents. In exchange, he would receive a lesser sentence in his own case. Since 2012, he has testified multiple times in state court against his patients.

A screening panel for the Medical Examining Board met Sept. 17 to discuss the new complaints. The Board will not release the outcome of its investigation unless it decides to discipline Dr. Armus.

He pleaded guilty to federal drug charges in 2011, but has managed to postpone his sentencing for more than two years. He practices medicine at Great Lakes Dermatology. His medical license is still active in Wisconsin, but medical boards in Illinois and Arizona have suspended him to "protect the public."

According to state records, Dr. Armus is drug tested 56 times a year. He's been clean since 2009.