A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrest Of Medication Technician For Allegedly Stealing Prescription Narcotics From Elderly Nursing Home Residents For Personal Use

Defendant Deborah Cleveland Is Charged With 17 Counts For Allegedly Stealing 650 Narcotic Pills And Swapping Them With Similar-Looking Non-Narcotics For Eight Patients

ROCHESTER – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of Deborah Cleveland, 42, a medication technician formerly employed by Heather Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care Facility in the Town of Pittsford. Cleveland is facing 17 charges for allegedly stealing a total of 650 narcotic pills for personal use from eight  patients ranging in age from 66 to 98 years old.  Cleveland allegedly substituted non-narcotic medications, including allergy, diuretic, bi-polar, and blood pressure medications that were not prescribed for the patients in question.

“Families entrust nursing facilities with providing proper care to their loved ones, including administering appropriate medications, and our office will hold individuals accountable when they violate that trust,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “Our office will continue to protect everyday New Yorkers by ensuring that there is one set of rules for everyone, including those entrusted with caring for our most vulnerable citizens.”

Charges filed against Cleveland in Pittsford Town Court include one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (a class E Felony); eight counts of  Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree (a class E Felony), and eight counts of Petit Larceny (a class A Misdemeanor).  Class E felonies carry a maximum penalty of four years in prison, while class A misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail. Cleveland was arraigned last night and the case has been adjourned until August 21st.

The investigation was conducted by the New York State Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. In the case of one victim, identified in court documents as resident “A.G.,” Cleveland allegedly stole 230 Oxycodone pills from the victim’s narcotic packs and replaced those pills with similar-looking non-narcotic medications. 

The case was investigated by Investigator Debra Clementi, with assistance from Deputy Chief Investigator William Falk and Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement Investigator Kristine Wiant-Sherman.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney Generals Jennifer Sommers.  Catherine Wagner is Director of the Rochester Regional Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Office and the Upstate Chief of Criminal Investigations.  The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is led by Director Amy Held. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.

The charges against Ms. Cleveland are merely accusations and she is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  

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