A Denver news reporter decided to quit the journalism business because she was allegedly receiving death threats from a businessman whose shady dealings she exposed on television.
Heidi Hemmat, an on-air reporter with KDVR, says she received a warning from Muhammed Murib's psychiatrist that he was "homicidal."
“The alleged fraudster’s psychiatrist warned me that he was going to kill me,” Hemmat said.
The fearless reporter went dumpster diving for a four-part investigative story to retrieve some of the receipts the owner had allegedly thrown away.
“We're looking at all the receipts you threw away,” she told the business owner when he confronted her and threatened to call the sheriff.
“You probably should. They asked you not to throw these receipts away,” she responded.
Her story also revealed that the business owner was accused of fraud.
Hemmat's reporting turned into a nightmare after she started receiving death threats from the fraudster.
Ultimately she had to pay a very high price for this report. She wrote on her website that she had to leave her job because she did not feel safe.
“I worked very hard to expose this guy — and in the end, I paid a very high price. There's a reason why I'm not saying his name — it's because I'm still scared of him,” Hemmat wrote.
“Shortly after he learned about the charges against him, that were a direct result of me, I got a call from his psychiatrist.
“She told me he was ‘homicidal’ and was planning to kill me. The psychiatrist thought the threat was so credible, she broke HIPAA laws (the laws that protect medical records of psychos, such as the theater shooter — James Holmes) to warn me.”
Despite Hemmat's claims, physicians are allowed by HIPAA laws to break confidentiality when there is imminent danger to the patient or others.
Hemmat claims that her supervisors expected her to cover every new development regarding the alleged fraud, despite the reporter fearing her life.
They initially paid for undercover Denver police officers to be stationed at her home but then expressed concern over how much it was costing and removed the personal security.
At one point bosses told her, “If he was going to kill you, he would have done it by now.”
It was at this time that she decided to quit her job and applied for an unpaid leave and asked to be let out of her contract.
“I knew I couldn’t keep ambushing people who did bad things to other people. Society has changed. People have changed. My physical and mental health were unraveling,” she wrote.
People applauded her efforts on social media:
Wishing you the best. SO sorry for what you're experiencing. Cockroaches hate flashlights. I can attest to that. @HeidiHemmat— Heidi Harris (@HeidiHarrisShow) November 28, 2016
Really cool of @HeidiHemmat to share her story & show the real danger you can face in this industry. Cant believe how KDVR treated her...— Justin Michael (@JustinTMichael) November 26, 2016
Hemmat thanked everyone for the overwhelming response.
On the other side, officials at the TV station said that they never denied security requests and expressed regret that Hemmat has chosen to blame the station.