You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

VA Hospital Nurse’s Aide Charged With Theft From Patient

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Warren T. Wells, of Moscow, Pennsylvania, was charged today with theft in connection with an incident at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Wilkes-Barre, on December 13, 2013.

     According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, a criminal information was filed in U.S. District Court in Scranton charging Wells, a nurse’s aide employed by the VA, with theft of a golden crucifix necklace from a patient/veteran being treated at the VA Hospital.  Wells was originally charged by local authorities. That prosecution will be withdrawn in favor of the federal charge.  Wells has been placed on administrative leave by the VA pending the outcome of the criminal case.

     The VA Hospital is a federal facility and alleged crimes on the premise are subject to prosecution in federal court.

     If convicted, Wells could be sentenced to a statutory maximum of up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

     Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

     The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Police.  The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Todd K. Hinkley for prosecution.

Updated April 21, 2015