Former Togus VA pharmacy tech pleads guilty to stealing prescription medication

Posted Oct. 24, 2013, at 1:43 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 25, 2013, at 7:15 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A former pharmacy technician at a Veterans Affairs medical facility in Augusta pleaded guilty Thursday morning in U.S. District Court to stealing prescription medication.

Rebecca J. Hamlin, 61, of Winslow was charged with theft of government property, a federal Class A misdemeanor, after coworkers spotted her attempting to conceal an unlabeled plastic pharmacy bottle in her purse in January.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk accepted Hamlin’s guilty plea. Sentencing will be set at a later date. Hamlin faces up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Hamlin’s voice often cracked when she addressed the judge. She had no prior criminal history.

Hamlin worked as a pharmacy technician at the Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta on Jan. 17, when a coworker saw Hamlin “suspiciously attempt to conceal an unlabeled pharmacy vial in her purse” at her workstation, according to documents filed in federal court.

Later that day, a supervisor noticed more VA medication in the side pocket of a tote bag under Hamlin’s desk. Medications in the bag included Acetaminophen, Simvastatin, Phrenilin, Naproxen and a Hydrocodone tablet.

Her purse and tote bag were taken to the VA police station, where Hamlin consented to the search and admitted she should not have possessed the prescription drugs, according to court documents.

Hamlin later confessed during a Jan. 25 interview that she took medication from the VA.

A VA pharmacist confirmed that the “national numbers as well as the 7.5 [milligrams] dosage of Hydrocodone found within the defendant’s possession were the same as the national number and dosage of Hydrocodone maintained at the VA pharmacy,” according to the court document.

Due to the small quantities taken, the prosecution believed the stolen medications were for her personal use, according to the court document.

Hamlin said she did not disagree with the prosecution’s version of events.

She was released on $5,000 unsecured bond until sentencing.

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