Former Nurse Found Guilty of Fraudulently Obtaining and Tampering with Opioid Pain Killer Sentenced to 36 Months in Federal Prison
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 1, 2021
SALT LAKE CITY- Nathan Pehrson, 41, of Sandy, was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison in a United States District Court yesterday after being convicted at trial by a federal jury in the District of Utah of three counts related to fraudulently obtaining and tampering with the pain killing narcotic hydromorphone, a powerful schedule II opioid drug that is used to treat patients with moderate to severe pain. Upon his release from federal prison, Pehrson was also sentenced to an additional term of 36 months of federal supervised release.
A jury had previously found that during Pehrson’s employment as a nurse on a surgical and trauma ward, that he diverted hydromorphone from pre-loaded syringes for his personal use, and then replaced the pain medication with saline solution before they were placed back into circulation for medical use by other hospital staff on other patients. Pehrson was also convicted of making false statements to a special agent from the Food and Drug Administration about his illegal activity while under investigation for his crimes.
“We hope that this sentence of three years in federal prison deters every healthcare professional from using or diverting prescription narcotics,” said Acting United States Attorney Andrea T. Martinez. “We commend the work of the hospital staff who discovered and reported the illegal activity along with the work of our partners at the FDA for investigating this matter.”
“The FDA oversees the U.S. drug supply to ensure that it is safe and effective, and those who knowingly tamper with medicines put patients’ health at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Kansas City Field Office. “We will continue to protect the public health and bring to justice health care professionals who take advantage of their unique position and compromise their patients’ health and comfort by tampering with needed drugs.”
Assistant United States Attorneys from the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case against Pehrson. Special Agents from the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations conducted the investigation.
USAO - Utah