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Former Nurse Pleads Guilty to Adulteration of Fentanyl

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Department of Justice
United States Attorney's Office
District of Massachusetts

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

BOSTON – A former nurse pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to adulteration of fentanyl at a local hospital.

Caroline Sheehan, 39, of Lowell, Mass. pleaded guilty to one count of adulteration of a prescription drug with intent to defraud and mislead. U.S. District Court Judge Angel Kelley scheduled sentencing for June 12, 2024. Sheehan was charged by Information in November 2023.

While working at a Massachusetts hospital, Sheehan removed a bag of intravenous fentanyl solution from an automated dispensing machine. Sheehan used a syringe to remove fentanyl from the IV bag, injected saline into the bag to replace the fentanyl she had removed and returned the bag to its drawer in the machine. A hospital employee removed the IV bag, which laboratory testing confirmed contained less than the declared concentration of fentanyl, from the machine before any of the adulterated fentanyl solution was administered to a patient. Sheehan later admitted that she had withdrawn fentanyl from the IV bag and replaced it with saline to avoid getting caught. 
The charge of adulteration of a prescription drug provides a sentence of no greater than three years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $10,000. 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.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Fernando McMillan, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; Robert Coviello, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General; and Robert H. Goldstein, MD, PhD, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Begg Lawrence, Chief of the Health Care Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.


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