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Press Release

Berkley Nurse Agrees to Plead Guilty to Tampering with Patients' Fentanyl

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

BOSTON – A Berkley nurse was charged and agreed to plead guilty in federal court in Boston to tampering with fentanyl intended for patients at a hospital’s post-surgery recovery unit and an outpatient vascular surgery center. 

Hugo Vieira, 41, was charged and has agreed to plead guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product.

According to the charging documents, from December 2018 through January 2019, while working at a Massachusetts hospital and an outpatient vascular surgery center, Vieira removed fentanyl from vials meant for patients who were undergoing surgery or recovering from surgery. To conceal his conduct, Vieira allegedly replaced the diverted fentanyl with saline. Sixty tampered vials were identified at the vascular surgery center and two vials at the hospital post-surgery recovery unit. As a result, each of those vials contained less than 1.3–7% of the declared concentration of fentanyl citrate.

The charge of tampering with a consumer product provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception and subterfuge provides for a sentence of up to four years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office; and Margret R. Cooke, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elysa Wan of Rollins’ Healthcare Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.

Updated March 4, 2022

Health Care Fraud