Two Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Traffic Stolen Medical Products from The Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
A Pennsylvania man has been federally charged with related crimes
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Mark Totten announced today that Jennifer Robertson, age 52, of Battle Creek, Michigan, and Michelle McAllister, age 56, of Jerome, Michigan, pled guilty to participating in a multi-year, interstate conspiracy to transport and traffic diabetic test strips stolen from the Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center to a Pennsylvania man named Steven Anderson. Anderson faces federal charges for related crimes and is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
“My office takes government theft very seriously,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten, for the Western District of Michigan. “Thefts from VA medical centers deprive other veterans of needed medical care and resources. My office is dedicated to serving and protecting our nation’s veterans.”
According to their plea agreements, Robertson spent over 20 years in procurement for the Battle Creek VA Pharmacy, where she was responsible for ordering supplies for veterans in need of medical care. In June 2017, Robertson stole 10 boxes of diabetic test strips from the pharmacy’s inventory and arranged online to meet McAllister and sell them for cash. After completing that transaction and several similar ones, McAllister realized that Robertson’s test strips were stolen, but decided to keep buying from her. She confided in Anderson that her “matra [sic] is not to ask too many questions.” Anderson replied: “Lol.” For over two years, Robertson and McAllister conducted hundreds of such transactions. Throughout the scheme, Robertson admitted stealing over 7,500 boxes of diabetic test strips, costing the Battle Creek VA Pharmacy over $400,000.
“The theft of medical supplies intended for our nation’s veterans is a grave offense. Such schemes erode public trust, steal from the taxpayer, and divert valuable resources away from those who have rightfully earned them,” said Special Agent in Charge Gregory Billingsley of the VA Office of Inspector General’s Central Field Office. “My office is resolved to investigate and root out anyone who would attempt to benefit from these fraudulent activities.”
“Medical products, such as diabetic test strips, that are not in the legitimate supply chain can present a health risk to those who buy and use these diverted products,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Ronne G. Malham, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Chicago Field Office. “FDA will continue to protect consumers by investigating and bringing to justice those who attempt to traffic in diverted medical products.”
This investigation was led by the Food and Drug Administration and the VA Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service. Finally, as noted above, the charges in the indictment against Steven Anderson are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent until and unless he is proven guilty in a court of law.
USAO - Michigan, Western