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Woman sentenced for taking medication meant for patient

June 10, 2013

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A 55-year-old woman was recently sentenced to 14 days in prison for taking medication that was meant for a patient at Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where she worked as an emergency room nurse, U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II’s office said Monday.

After serving the prison term, Paula S. High of Virginia Beach, Va., is to be placed on one year of supervised release. 

High pleaded guilty in February to acquiring, obtaining and possessing controlled substances by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery and deception on March 9, 2009, according to a news release from Ihlenfeld’s office.

While working as a registered nurse assigned to the emergency room, High acquired controlled substances using an account assigned and authorized to her through her employment, the release said.

“However, instead of administering the medication to a patient, High kept the controlled substances for personal use,” Ihlenfeld’s office said in the release.

High is expected to report to a designated federal institution.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Cogar and investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs/Office of Inspector General.

Also appearing in federal court in Martinsburg were:

• Terrence Johnson, 37, who was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison followed by four years of supervised release. Johnson was convicted in March on two counts of distribution of cocaine base,  single counts of possession with intent to distribute more than 28 grams of cocaine base and possession with intent to distribute heroin following a three-day trial held by U.S. District Judge Gina M. Groh.

• Brian Clifton Jackson, 38, of Washington, D.C., who was sentenced to seven years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Jackson pleaded guilty in February to use of a communication facility to facilitate the distribution of heroin.

• Carlos Vincent Rivera, 43, of Martinsburg, who was sentenced to three years and one month in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Rivera pleaded guilty in February to felon in possession of a firearm in June 2012.

At that time, Rivera had prior felony convictions for possession of cocaine and aggravated robbery, according to Ihlenfeld’s office.

• Ismail Omara, 34, formerly of Wallingford, Pa., who was sentenced to three years and one month in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Omara pleaded guilty in February to bank fraud.

Between March 16 and April 15, 2011, authorities said Omara used a mobile telephone application that the USAA Federal Savings Bank offers to allow customers to make deposits from their mobile phone using scanner technology to deposit 10 checks totaling $27,530 from a bank account in which Omara had nearly no money, Ihlenfeld’s office said.

After making the deposits to the USAA Federal Savings Bank account, Omara immediately withdrew the funds via ATMs at casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., and Charles Town, W.Va. As part of his plea, Omara will make restitution to the bank for the loss of $25,152.32.
  
• Corey Hassan Mitchell, 42, of Falling Waters, W.Va., who was sentenced to 15 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

Mitchell pleaded guilty in February to distribution of crack cocaine.   

• Vaughan J. Henry, 28, of Kearneysville, W.Va., who was sentenced to 15 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Henry pleaded guilty in February to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. 

• Danielle Ostrowski Jones, 23, of Pasadena, Md., pleaded guilty to knowing possession of stolen firearms. Jones faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

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