BUFFALO, N.Y.- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Leyla Samadi, 54, formerly of Buffalo, NY, currently of St. Mary’s County, Maryland, who was convicted of illegally obtaining controlled substances by fraud, was sentenced to five years’ probation by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.
“During a time that our community is fighting hard against the abuse of opiate and opioid drugs, this defendant stole pain medications from patients who genuinely needed them,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Even worse, the defendant’s scheme meant that vulnerable patients were potentially injected with salt water by staff who thought they were administering medication. As we have demonstrated before, a person’s title or status as a health care or other professional will not immunize them from prosecution if the circumstances and law warrant.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney George c. Burgasser, who is handling the case, stated that between November 22, 2014 and January 7, 2015, the defendant tampered with and stole the pain medications Demerol and Hydromorphone while working as a registered nurse at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo. Specifically, Samadi used her official status as a medical professional to log into the Hospital’s medicine dispensing machine (Pyxis). Samadi identified a particular patient that was in need of medicine, and requested a specific narcotic that she claimed would be administered the drug.
Once Samadi obtained the narcotic from the Pyxis machine, rather than administer the medication to the patient, Samadi instead injected herself with the narcotic. Even more egregiously, the defendant thereafter replaced the missing medication with saline solution and returned it to the Pyxis machine. Once Samadi returned the vial to the Pyxis machine, Samadi cancelled the transaction claiming that she had selected the wrong medication or the wrong patient. The defendant’s illegal diversion scheme potentially exposed patients in true need of pain medication from the Hospital to nothing more potent that salt water.
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Russell Hermann, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, under the direction of Eric T. Schneiderman, New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, under the direction of Joshua Vinciguerra, and the New York State Office of the Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, under the direction of Chief Upstate Investigator William Falk.