Former Oregon State Police Forensic Scientist Sentenced to 36 Months in Prison for Theft of Controlled Substances
PORTLAND, Ore. – On Monday, December 12, 2016, U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown sentenced former Oregon State Police Forensic Scientist Nika Larsen, 36, of Bend, Oregon to 36 months in federal prison for obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, fraud and deception. Following her prison sentence, Larsen will be on one year of supervised release that will include 250 hours of community service.
“An effective criminal justice system requires the highest level of personal integrity from everyone working within the system,” said Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon. “If is a single link in this chain is compromised, the equitable administration of justice is at risk. Ms. Larsen’s sentence reflects the severity of her crimes,” continued U.S. Attorney Williams, “and demonstrates our law enforcement community’s commitment to policing its own and protecting the integrity of the justice system.”
In August 2016, Larsen plead guilty to two counts of obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, fraud and abuse by using her position as a state forensic scientist to steal controlled substances from evidence items submitted by law enforcement agencies to the Oregon State Police Crime Lab for analysis and testing. Between January 2013 and August 2015, Larsen was found to have stolen over 700 controlled substances in pill form from over 50 separate evidence items. The stolen pills included Morphine, Hydrocodone, Diazepam, Methamphetamine (pill form), Oxycodone and Methadone. Larsen’s offenses occurred primarily in Umatilla and Deschutes Counties at the Oregon State Police Crime Labs in Pendleton and Bend.
The case was investigated by the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Justice, Criminal Justice Division. The case was prosecuted by Pamala R. Holsinger, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen H. Gunnels from the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office. Multnomah County Chief Deputy District Attorney Donald N. Rees served as Special Deputy District Attorney for Umatilla County during the case and also represented the Oregon District Attorney’s Association (ODAA).
Daina Vitolins, President of the ODAA, expressed the gratitude of district attorneys statewide to the United States Attorney for Oregon and to the participating district attorneys’ offices for bring this difficult matter to a just close.