News and Press Releases

Registered Nurse Stole and Distributed Hydrocodone and Other Drugs

February 1, 2008

DIANA L. LANCASTER, 47, of Silverdale, Washington, a Washington state licensed nurse was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to four months imprisonment for the federal felony offense of Acquiring a Controlled Substance by Subterfuge and Deception.

During 2007, and continuing through October 2007, LANCASTER was employed as a Registered Nurse (RN) at Evergreen Health and Rehabilitation, a nursing home in Bremerton, Washington, administering long-term health care to the elderly. As an RN, LANCASTER regularly came into contact with controlled substances which were prescribed by doctors for patients at the nursing home. On numerous occasions during this time period, LANCASTER stole medications from the facility, including multi-pill quantities of narcotics such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, dilaudid, and clonazepam. To conceal her repeated thefts, LANCASTER made notations on medical charts indicating that the drugs had been given to patients. LANCASTER abused some of the drugs herself, provided some of the drugs to her husband who distributed them, and sold some of the drugs herself to other people. On October 3, 2007, at the conclusion of the investigation, LANCASTER was stopped as she left the nursing home at the end of the day to go home. On her person, officers found multi-pill quantities of dilaudid, clonazepam, hydrocodone, and methadone, which she was stealing from the facility that day. More stolen drugs were found in a search of LANCASTER’s home. As noted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald J. Friedman at the time of sentencing, “this conduct was the antithesis of what one would expect from someone in the nursing profession.”

In pleading guilty, LANCASTER admitted not only the theft of the drugs, but extensive shoplifting activities over the same time period at stores such as Macy’s, Ross and J.C. Penney’s. In a video shot by the police during an undercover drug buy from LANCASTER at her Silverdale home, LANCASTER provided a tour of her home displaying the numerous items of clothing she had stolen.

At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle noted, “that such a sentence was necessary to deter others and to punish” the defendant for her actions at the nursing home over a period of time. The sentence of imprisonment is to be followed by a year of supervised release. As a condition of supervised release, the Court ordered that LANCASTER be prohibited from obtaining any job in any profession that would cause her to come into contact with controlled substances.

The case was investigated by the Bremerton Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ron Friedman.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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