SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — A pharmacist who used to work at the veterans hospital in Shreveport recently has been found guilty of stealing hydrocodone from veterans’ prescriptions.
A federal jury convicted 44-year-old Melissa W. Richardson, of Shreveport, on Friday of 15 counts of acquiring a controlled substance by fraud.
In April, a federal grand jury indicted her on 20 counts of fraudulently acquiring a controlled substance, namely various quantities of hydrocodone, tylenol with codeine, diazepam and morphine on June 9, 2017.
Evidence presented during her weeklong trial shows that she was employed at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center when she stole various quantities of hydrocodone from individual prescription bottles on June 9, 2017, as she verified mailout prescriptions intended for veterans, U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph’s office reports.
The prescriptions at issue had been prepared by a pharmacy technician and were awaiting a second count and verification by Richardson.
Video surveillance from inside the medical center’s controlled substances vault shows Richardson slipping the pills into her pocket as she counts the prescriptions, Joseph’s office reports.
In multiple instances, she slipped pills into her pocket before the pills were counted. Video footage shows her then verify that the prescription is correct in the medical center’s computer system, seal the bottle, place it in a sealed envelope and drop it in a bin for mailout.
Richardson had 236 loose pills in her pocket when federal agents confronted her, federal prosecutors report.