A.G. Schneiderman Announces Guilty Plea By Medication Technician Who Stole Approximately 650 Prescription Narcotics From Elderly Nursing Facility Residents For Personal Use

Defendant Deborah Cleveland Stole Narcotics, Replaced Them With Similar-Looking Medications

ROCHESTER – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the guilty plea of Deborah Cleveland, 42, of Rochester, for stealing approximately 650 prescription narcotics from a total of eight elderly patients at the Heather Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care Facility in the Town of Pittsford. Cleveland was previously employed as a medication technician at the facility, where she stole prescription narcotics for personal consumption and attempted to conceal the theft by substituting pills with a similar appearance. Cleveland pled guilty to the misdemeanor crime of Attempted Scheme to Defraud in the 1st Degree before The Honorable John Bernacki in Pittsford Town Court.  

“All New Yorkers expect caregivers to provide appropriate treatment to seniors in our state’s nursing facilities, and our office will hold caregivers accountable when they violate the considerable trust that is placed in them,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “There has to be one set of rules for everyone, and that is why our office is committed to protecting everyday New Yorkers, including the elderly.” 

Cleveland is expected to receive a sentence of probation and four weekends in the Monroe County Jail when she is sentenced by Judge John Bernacki on October 16th. 

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. Victims include patients ranging in age from 66 to 98. In the case of one victim, identified in court documents as resident “A.G.,” Cleveland 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 General 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.

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