June 15, 2002

JUNE 15, 2001

CONTACT: Kerry O'brien, Assistant Attorney General 207-626-8800

Attorney General Steven Rowe announced today that Lorraine Storman, L.P.N., 53, of Bangor, pled guilty in District Court in Bangor to one count of Stealing Drugs, a Class D crime. The offense occurred in February of 2000 while Storman worked at Westgate Manor Nursing Home in Bangor. Storman admitted to stealing several eyedropper-size doses of Oxyfast, the liquid form of oxycodone, and replacing the volume she stole from the bottle with water. Her scheme resulted in patients who were prescribed the medicine for pain receiving diluted doses.

Judge Ann M. Murray of the Maine District Court sentenced Storman to a $250 fine, a six-month term of imprisonment, all suspended, followed by a year of probation. As special conditions of probation, Storman must undergo substance abuse treatment, may not use or possess alcohol or illegal drugs, may not work in any job that permits access to prescription drugs and must disclose to any future health care employers her conviction for stealing drugs and her history of substance abuse. At sentencing, Ms. Storman accepted responsibility for her conduct and told the court that she voluntarily surrendered her nursing license and does not plan to work in health care.

Attorney General Rowe stated: "We will diligently prosecute health care professionals whose conduct jeopardizes the health and well being of the patients they are obligated to care for and protect."

If a bill submitted by the Attorney General and sponsored by Rep. Edward Povich (D-Ellsworth) wins legislative approval, stealing drugs of this type will soon be a Class C crime, carrying a fine of up to $5000 and a prison sentence of up to five years. LD 1728, An Act to Control the Illegal Diversion and Abuse of Prescription Narcotic Drugs, is poised for final enactment by the Maine Senate next week.

Detective Christine Baker of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) in the Maine Attorney General's Office investigated the case and MFCU Director Kerry O'Brien prosecuted it. The MFCU is a state and federally funded entity with statewide jurisdiction to prosecute fraud by Medicaid providers and patient abuse in Medicaid facilities. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have MFCUs.