Public Safety

Former Manchester nurse sentenced to 4 years for stealing patients' pain pills

CEDAR RAPIDS — A former Manchester nurse, who stole hydrocodone and morphine pills from her nursing home patients, was sentenced Wednesday to four years in federal prison.

Katie Louise Boll, 31, pleaded guilty in September to one count of tampering with a consumer product, specifically liquid morphine prescribed to a patient, and one count of acquiring a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception and subterfuge.

According to a plea agreement, Boll, a former nurse with Good Neighbor Society in Manchester, admitted she acquired hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, codeine, and tramadol, from at least fourteen patients in her care. Boll also admitted to diluting liquid morphine with mouthwash so the morphine was less than 2 percent of the strength listed on the bottle.

Boll also admitted that reducing the strength of this pain medication was in “reckless disregard and manifested an extreme indifference for the risk” to her patient, placing the person in danger of receiving bodily injury, including increased pain, according to the plea.

Boll told authorities she had been acquiring pain medications through fraud from hospitals and other facilities where she worked since October 2016.

The plea shows Boll also worked at the Regional Medical Center in Manchester, where she was fired for a variety of issues, including inaccurate and inappropriate narcotic documentation.

Boll regularly signed out medication, claiming to give it to patients but instead took if for her own use. She also would steal narcotic, injectable, pain medication that was supposed to be discarded but she would “squirt” it into her mouth instead of getting a witness — another nurse — to watch her dispose of it, as required.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams also ordered Boll to pay $593 in restitution to the victims in the case, including Medicare, Medicaid and individual victims for the cost of the stolen drugs. 

Her nursing license was also forfeited as a result of this conviction.

Williams also sentenced Boll to serve three years of supervised release following her prison term.

“Unscrupulous healthcare providers who steal patient medications hurt those vulnerable patients they have promised to help,” U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan said. “This office will always stand ready to protect our most vulnerable members of society.”

Deegan, in his statement, gave a special thanks to the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations and the Iowa Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for their “outstanding work investigating these cases.”

Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead, of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Kansas City Field Office, in a statement, said they are committed to working with their law enforcement partners to protect public health and “bring to justice those who tamper with medications and deny patients access to the treatments they need.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Reinert and was investigated by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and the United States Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations. 

Boll, who violated pretrial release by failing to appear for random drug testing and continued to use drugs while on release, will remain in jail until she is transported to a designated federal prison.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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