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Press Release

Northborough Nurse Charged with Tampering with Liquid Morphine

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

BOSTON – A registered nurse was arrested yesterday in connection with tampering with morphine prescribed to a nursing home resident in her care.  

Gwen Rider, 41, of Northborough, was indicted on one count of tampering with a consumer product and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and deception. Rider was released on conditions after making an initial appearance in federal court in Worcester yesterday afternoon.

According to the indictment, Rider was a registered nurse employed by a Worcester county nursing home. From approximately 11:00 p.m. on Nov. 6, 2020 until 7:00 a.m. the following morning, Rider was on duty in a unit specializing in care for residents suffering from dementia. During her shift and while entrusted with the care of a resident suffering from dementia, Rider allegedly tampered with a bottle of morphine sulfate prescribed to the patient by removing some of the morphine and tampering with the remaining supply. Morphine sulfate is a Schedule II controlled substance under federal law.

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

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; and Monica Bharel MD, MPH, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was also provided by the Northborough Police Department. 

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated April 6, 2021