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Press Release

Butte nurse admits stealing opiates from medical centers

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

MISSOULA – A Butte nurse accused of stealing opiates from multiple medical centers in the Butte-area community in 2021 admitted to criminal charges on June 16, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.

Shantyl Marie Giacoletto, 30, pleaded guilty to three counts of unlawfully obtaining controlled substances. Giacoletto faces a maximum of four years in prison, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release.

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided. The court will determine a sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for Oct. 13. Giacoletto was detained pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that Giacoletto diverted opiates in 2021 while working at three medical centers in Anaconda, Butte and Deer Lodge. In June 2021, a Community Hospital of Anaconda manager reported the theft of oxycodone tablets from the hospital. The hospital’s records reflected the loss of 392 oxycodone pills over the past three months. The records showed that CHA nurse Giacoletto routinely pulled oxycodone from the pharmacy but did not document the administration of that drug to her patients. A review of 50 patient files showed that Giacoletto did this on 49 occasions. Several patients confirmed they never received that drug. When management confronted Giacoletto, she denied stealing controlled substances but quit shortly after the meeting. In an interview with an Anaconda Police Department detective, Giacoletto again denied any diversion and claimed the hospital was retaliating against her, criticized its training program and stated that another nurse would confirm the lack of documentation for the administration of drugs. The detective spoke with the nurse Giacoletto identified and other hospital employees. All advised they were required to record when controlled substances were given to patients and that it would be extremely rare for someone to fail to enter that information.

Another diversion occurred in October 2021 at Continental Care and Rehabilitation in Butte, where Giacoletto worked as a traveling nurse. Only three individuals, including Giacoletto, had access to narcotics at that time. The director provided records for the missing drugs, which included 26 hydrocodone and 80 oxycodone tablets. Several medication logs had been torn out, many drugs had been marked “destroyed” with no nurse signature as required and at least two patient files had been improperly altered. Management then announced a drug screening, and most nurses provided urine samples, which were all negative for the diverted drugs. Giacoletto did not submit to the drug test and did not return to work at that facility.

A third diversion occurred in November 2021 at The Ivy in Deer Lodge. The director of nursing advised that a drug count on Nov. 21, 2021 determined 52 oxycodone and 27 morphine tables were missing. And on Nov. 23, 2021, a drug count determined 115 oxycodone and 60 hydrocodone pills were missing. The director then requested urine samples from the staff working those dates. All complied and tested negative aside from Giacoletto, who initially refused and left the facility. Giacoletto’s employer then contacted her and instructed her to provide a sample. Giacoletto returned to the facility several hours later and requested a specific bathroom for the drug test. When she provided the sample, it was cold, and the result was inconclusive because the temperature was not within the approved testing range. In addition, patient logbooks for the two dates included pages that were crossed out, folded over and not signed as required by policy. Giacoletto was the only person with access to the medication cart on both days.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla E. Painter is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Anaconda Police Department.





Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer

Updated June 17, 2022

Press Release Number: 22-157