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  1. Press Releases

Berkley Nurse Pleads Guilty to Tampering with Patients' Fentanyl

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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Monday, May 9, 2022

BOSTON – A Berkley nurse pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to tampering with fentanyl intended for patients at a hospital’s post-surgery recovery unit and an outpatient vascular surgery center. 

Hugo Vieira, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product. U.S. District Court Judge Angel Kelley scheduled sentencing for Aug. 24, 2022. Vieira was charged on March 3, 2022.

From December 2018 to January 2019, while working at a Massachusetts hospital and an outpatient vascular surgery center, Vieira removed fentanyl from vials meant for patients who were undergoing surgery or recovering from surgery. To conceal his conduct, Vieira replaced the diverted fentanyl with saline. Sixty tampered vials were identified at the vascular surgery center and two vials at the hospital post-surgery recovery unit. Those vials contained only 1.3–7% of the declared concentration of fentanyl citrate.

The charge of tampering with a consumer product provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office; and Margret R. Cooke, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elysa Q. Wan and David J. Derusha of Rollins’ Health Care Fraud Unit are prosecuting the case.

Consumer Protection
USAO - Massachusetts

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