January 16

Former Maine VA worker gets probation for stealing drugs

The Winslow woman was also fined $4,000 in federal court proceedings.

By Betty Adams / Kennebec Journal Staff Writer

A former pharmacy technician at VA Maine Healthcare Systems-Togus was sentenced Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Bangor to two years of probation for pocketing a variety of medication belonging to the hospital.

Rebecca J. Hamlin, 61, of Winslow, pleaded guilty in late October to theft of public money, a misdemeanor offense, in U.S. District Court in Bangor. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk imposed the sentence on Wednesday which includes restitution of $15.21 and a fine of $4,000.

The charge said Hamlin “did willfully steal and with intent convert to her own use an amount of pharmaceuticals including controlled substances from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs” in January 2013.

Hamlin had remained free pending the sentencing hearing. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail, and Hamlin has no prior criminal record, according to her attorney, Ronald Bourget.

The government’s version of the offense, filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Moore, says a lead pharmacy technician saw Hamlin “suspiciously attempt to conceal an unlabeled pharmacy vial (plastic bottle) in her purse at her VA work station” on Jan. 17, 2013.

A pharmacy supervisor checked the vial, which was visible in Hamlin’s purse, and a subsequent search found additional pharmacy medication in a tote bag at Hamlin’s work station.

Moore’s filing says the medication found in Hamlin’s possession “included acetaminophen, simvastatin, phrenilin, naproxen and a hydrocodone tablet.”

Hamlin told Togus police in two January interviews that she stole medication from the pharmacy, including an entire bottle of phrenilin, a medication used to treat headaches.

Betty Adams — 621-5631 badams@centralmaine.com Twitter: @betadams

 

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