News and Press Releases

Former Pharmacy Employee Stole and Sold Insulin and Test Strips to Florida Resident

October 29, 2010

MICHAEL RALPH WORLEY, 44, of Camano Island, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to one year and one day in prison, three years of supervised release, and $366,054 in restitution for Interstate Transportation of Stolen Goods. WORLEY was charged along with Donald Alan Pepin, 55, of Jupiter, Florida, in a scheme to steal and sell diabetic supplies, including insulin, from a hospital in Everett, Washington. Both men were indicted in the scheme November 19, 2009. WORLEY pleaded guilty August 9, 2010. At sentencing Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said WORLEY “was not just tapping the till, he was dabbling in people’s health.... The court cannot ignore that this was a theft that affected people’s lives all across the country.”

According to records in the case, WORLEY worked as a Pharmacy Technician at Providence Medical Center’s Pacific Campus Pharmacy in Everett. Part of his job was to order insulin and other diabetic supplies for the pharmacy. WORLEY was placed on leave and ultimately terminated in November 2008, when an internal audit revealed large amounts of insulin being ordered for that pharmacy. The indictment alleges that WORLEY stole both insulin and diabetic test strips, used for checking insulin levels, and sold them on Ebay. After those initial sales, WORLEY was contacted via email by Pepin who wanted to directly purchase insulin and test strips. Pepin even sent WORLEY lists of the insulin products he wanted and the price he was willing to pay. Pepin’s prices were just a fraction of the wholesale cost of the items. Over the course of the conspiracy WORLEY is alleged to have stolen $366,054 worth of insulin from Providence Hospital. The retail value of that insulin was more than $1.2 million.

WORLEY told investigators he has a gambling addiction and spent most of the money he got from Pepin at area casinos and on lottery tickets. Since his arrest in this case, WORLEY has participated in Gamblers Anonymous.

WORLEY told the court he had suffered “great shame and could not walk to the mail box or grocery store” in the weeks following his indictment.

Pepin received the insulin in Florida, and then resold it through his business: First Medical Resources, Inc. The insulin was not refrigerated during shipping or storing, which made it unsafe for use. The insulin and test strips were being sold to small pharmacies or other distributors who may not have been aware that First Medical Resources, Inc. was not a licensed drug wholesaler in the State of Florida.

Assistant United States Attorney Patricia Lally told the court the nationwide investigation revealed WORLEY was part of a “dangerous activity that put thousands of diabetics at risk.”

Pepin is scheduled to be sentenced December 10, 2010.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, millions of Americans suffer from diabetes and need to use testing strips and insulin on a daily basis. In order for insulin to be safe and effective, it needs to be kept refrigerated. In a recent unrelated case, insulin was reported stolen from a semi-truck in North Carolina. The insulin was resold to the public at various pharmacies in the southeast United States. Several diabetics reported to the FDA that they were sickened after injecting themselves with the insulin that had been stored improperly. All diabetic supplies are required to carry contact information for the manufacturer so that consumers can report any problem with the products.

This case was investigated by the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Everett Police Department and the Washington State Board of Pharmacy.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patricia Lally.

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

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