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Press Release

Former Nurse at Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Indicted on Charges of Fraudulently Obtaining Controlled Substances for His Own Purposes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that a federal grand jury in Greenville has returned an indictment charging AARON WAYNE PICKRELL, a former registered nurse at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with five counts of obtaining possession of hydromorphone, a Schedule II controlled substance, by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, and subterfuge.

The indictment alleges that on various dates, PICKRELL falsely reported through the Medical Center’s computer system that a physician had given an order for a controlled substance to be administered to a patient when no such order had been issued, thereby gaining access to the VA’s automated dispensing pharmacy system in order to fraudulently obtain controlled substances that he then diverted for his own purposes.

For each count, if convicted, PICKRELL would face maximum penalties of four years’ imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 or both fine and imprisonment, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

This case is part of the Take Back North Carolina Initiative, a strategy implemented by United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. 

This case was brought by the United States Attorney’s Office through partnerships with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Lemmon.

Updated December 12, 2018