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Press Release

Ardmore Nurse Pleads Guilty To Tampering With Pain Medication

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

MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced that Rebecca Elaine Holloway, age 32, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, entered a guilty plea to an Information charging her with one count of Tampering with Consumer Products, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1365(a) and (a)(4).  Tampering with Consumer Products, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1365(a) and (a)(4) is punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment, a fine up to $250,000.00, or both.

On August 17, 2023, the United States Attorney’s Office filed an information that charged Holloway with tampering with consumer products that affected interstate and foreign commerce, specifically fentanyl and hydromorphone, between on or about March 2022 and April 22, 2022.

The charges arose from an investigation by the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.

At the plea hearing on August 31, 2023, Holloway admitted to stealing fentanyl and hydromorphone intended for intensive care patients while she was employed at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Mercy Hospital in Ardmore, Oklahoma.  As part of her plea agreement, Holloway confessed she removed the pain medication from their vials, refilled the empty vials with tap water, and returned the tampered vials to the controlled storage locker.  Holloway admitted she did so despite knowing the pain medication vials were intended for patients in acute pain and distress, and that by depriving patients of the medication, she knew she was placing them at risk of death and bodily injury.

“Patients rely on the knowledge that they will receive FDA-approved medications to manage their pain,” said Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Kansas City Field Office. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice healthcare professionals who jeopardize patients’ health by tampering with their pain medications.”

“Our healthcare system is built upon trust,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Wilson.  “This office will not hesitate to prosecute health care workers who abuse that trust.”

The Honorable Jason A. Robertson, U.S. Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, in Muskogee, accepted the plea and ordered the completion of a presentence investigation report.

Assistant United States Attorney Kara Traster and Associate Chief Counsel Jason Chandler of the Food and Drug Administration represented the United States.

Anyone who was a patient in the Mercy Hospital Intensive Care Unit in Ardmore, Oklahoma, between March 1, 2022, and April 22, 2022, and believes that they may have received a tampered dose of fentanyl or hydromorphone can contact the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations at 214-790-7545.

Updated September 20, 2023

Consumer Protection
Prescription Drugs