Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

April 27, 2010: Nurse Pleads Guilty to Stealing Medical Equipment from Passaic County Hospital and Selling it on the Internet

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Food and Drug Administration
Office of Criminal Investigations

United States Attorney's Office Press Release


For Immediate Release
April 27, 2010

The United States Attorney's Office
District of New Jersey
(973) 645-2888



NEWARK, N.J. - A registered nurse pleaded guilty today to stealing over $300,000 in medical equipment and supplies from the Passaic County hospital in which she worked and selling it over the Internet, United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Angela DeVarso, 33, of Garfield, Bergen County, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to a one-count Information charging her with transportation of stolen goods. Judge Chesler set bail at $100,000 and permitted DeVarso's release pending sentencing, which is scheduled for July 28, 2010.

At her plea hearing, DeVarso admitted that between July 2008 and October 2009, she stole medical equipment and supplies from her employer St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey. DeVarso stole the equipment and supplies by using her access to operating room areas to take the items, place them in a large bag, and take them home. DeVarso admitted that she did so on numerous occasions, and that the stolen equipment included surgical blades, autoclaveable laproscopes, a surgical camera, and large quantities of sterile sutures, staples, and vials worth, in total, approximately $302,829.66. DeVarso would then re-sell the medical equipment via eBay to buyers in other states.

At sentencing, DeVarso faces a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross loss to the hospital. DeVarso will also be ordered to make restitution to the hospital as part of her sentence.

In determining an actual sentence, Judge Chesler will consult the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges that take into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, the defendant's criminal history, if any, and other factors. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining the sentence. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.

Fishman credited Special Agents with the United States Food and Drug Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Mark Dragonetti, New York Field Office, FDA - Office of Criminal Investigations.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald Chillemi of the U.S. Attorney's Office Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: Amy Lefkowitz, Esq., Garfield, New Jersey

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