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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Friday, July 17, 2015

Former Health Care Center Nursing Supervisor Sentenced For Selling Fentanyl And Other Pain Killers

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul announced today that Catherine Vitello, 42, of Elma, NY, who was convicted of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of hydrocodone and fentanyl, was sentenced to three years probation to include one year home detention by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

“As this case demonstrates, high potency and highly dangerous prescription drugs can enter the stream of illegal commerce in a number of ways, including from those in the healing professions,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “This Office will continue to prosecute all who traffic in such sometimes lethal substances, regardless of title or position.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney John M. Alsup, who handled the case, stated that the defendant was the Director of Nursing at the St. Catherine Laboure Health Care Center in Buffalo. Vitello sold un-used prescription drugs from her office. These drugs were prescribed for patients but were no longer needed for various reasons, including the death of the patient in some cases. The prescription narcotics included hydrocodone and fentanyl. On at least two separate occasions in October 2013, the defendant sold hydrocodone and fentanyl to a confidential source working with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Office, the Lackawanna Police Department, under the direction of Chief James Michel, the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda, and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard.

Updated July 21, 2015