ER Nurse Who Stole Patient Pain Medications Pleads Guilty
A registered nurse who used patient identities to steal hydrocodone pain pills while employed in a hospital emergency room pled guilty August 13, 2018, in federal court in Cedar Rapids.
James Allen Moorehead, age 58, from Mason City, Iowa, pled guilty to one count of acquiring a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, or subterfuge, one count of false statements relating to health care matters, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
In a plea agreement, Moorehead admitted that, while employed at Franklin General Hospital in Hampton, Iowa, as a registered nurse in 2016 and 2017, he used patient identities to obtain controlled substances, specifically pills containing hydrocodone, by accessing their prescribed medication in the hospital’s system, and diverting those pain pills to himself. Moorehead concealed his scheme by falsely representing in medical records that the medications were actually administered to the patients and by giving his patients Tylenol instead of their prescribed medications. As a result of Moorehead’s subterfuge and diversion of their mediation, multiple patients reported increased pain during Moorehead’s shifts.
Moorehead had previously surrendered his nursing license under a 2008 Iowa Board of Nursing agreement, after having been terminated from North Iowa Mercy Health Center and Genesis Health Center for stealing opioids. Moorehead recovered his nursing license in June 2011 and had been working at Franklin General Hospital since March 2012 until he was terminated in March 2017.
Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Moorehead remains free on bond previously set pending sentencing. Moorehead faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of eleven years’ imprisonment, a $750,000 fine, and five years of supervised release following any imprisonment
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lyndie M. Freeman and was investigated by the Iowa Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/. The case file number is 18-CR-3021.
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