CONCORD, N.H – Kristina Coleman, 40, of Hudson, was sentenced on Friday to 15 months in federal prison for tampering with consumer products and unlawfully obtaining controlled substances, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Coleman worked as a pharmacy technician for a retail pharmacy chain in Nashua. In January 2019, she agreed to deliver two prescriptions to an elderly patient, which was not part of her ordinary job responsibilities. After the delivery, the patient checked her bottles and discovered several pills were missing from her oxycodone prescription. Further, some of the pills in the bottle were larger and had a different imprint than the others, and were later determined to be baclofen, a non-scheduled drug indicated as a muscle relaxant and anti-spasmodic agent. Coleman admitted to law enforcement officers that she replaced some of the oxycodone in the prescription bottle with the baclofen and gave the stolen oxycodone to a friend to sell, for which she received $80.
Additional investigation revealed that Coleman had been stealing Suboxone from the pharmacy for her personal use. Coleman admitted that she had stolen a strip a day for approximately one year.
Coleman previously pleaded guilty on October 20, 2020.
“Drug diversion and tampering with consumer products are serious crimes that can endanger the lives of patients,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “When criminals steal controlled substances and replace them with other drugs, patients are deprived of needed medicine and could face other serious medical risks. In order to protect the health and safety of our citizens, we take crimes like this seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute health care workers who steal drugs from innocent victims.”
“Those who knowingly tamper with and steal medicines risk harming patients by depriving them of their prescribed therapies,” said Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey J. Ebersole, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations New York Field Office. “We will continue to protect the public health and bring to justice healthcare professionals and others who take advantage of their position and compromise patients’ health and comfort by tampering with needed drugs.”
This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles L. Rombeau.