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Massachusetts woman sentenced to time served in federal court after stealing opioids from veterinary office



BOSTON – A Massachusetts woman was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Boston in connection with stealing hydrocodone, an opioid and Schedule II controlled substance, from the veterinary office where she worked.

Melissa Paradise, 43, of West Barnstable, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to time served (approximately one day in prison) and one year of supervised release. On Feb. 10, 2022, Paradise pleaded guilty to six counts of acquiring a controlled substance using a registration number assigned to another person and eight counts of acquiring a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception and subterfuge.

In late 2018 and 2019, federal investigators noted that an unusually large amount of hydrocodone had been ordered by the veterinary office. In June 2019, the investigators conducted an audit at the animal hospital during which Paradise was identified as the office manager responsible for record keeping regarding prescriptions.

Upon her arrival at the office on the day of the audit, Paradise admitted to investigators that she used the DEA registration number assigned to a veterinarian in the practice without the veterinarian’s knowledge or consent to order controlled substances which she then stole for her personal use. Paradise also admitted that she forged the signature of a second veterinarian on other prescription documents and diverted those drugs for her own use. The second veterinarian later confirmed that the signature on the documents was forged.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division made the announcement. Valuable assistance was provided by the Barnstable Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadine Pellegrini of Rollins’ Criminal Division prosecuted the case.

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