BOSTON – A former nurse was sentenced on Tuesday, June 29 in federal court in Boston for tampering with opioids intended for emergency department patients at a hospital where he worked and then attempting to conceal his crime by replacing the diverted narcotics with saline.
Mark Croft, 48, of West Boylston, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to one year and one day in prison and three years of supervised release, with the first year to be severed in home confinement. On Jan. 28, 2021, Croft pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product and one count of acquiring a controlled substance by deception and subterfuge.
While working at a Massachusetts hospital in January 2016, Croft administered hydromorphone and meperidine – both Schedule II controlled substances – to emergency department patients in need of pain relief. A month earlier, in December 2015, Croft had entered into an Agreement Not to Practice with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing after being terminated from a previous position as a nurse. Croft did not inform his then-current employer that he had voluntarily agreed not to practice. Between Jan. 5 and Jan. 14, 2016, Croft tampered with carpujects – syringe devices used to administer injectable fluid medication – containing hydromorphone and meperidine by accessing the automated dispensing machine (ADM) in the hospital’s emergency department.
Specifically, Croft used his credentials to enter false “cancel” or “return to stock” transactions in the ADM, which allowed him to remove carpujects containing hydromorphone and meperidine. He then used syringes to puncture the carpujects and remove portions of the hydromprohone and meperidine for his own use. In several instances, Croft replaced the medication he removed with saline in an attempt to conceal his conduct. To avoid detection, Croft later put the carpujects with the diluted medication back in the ADM where they remained available for nurses to unwittingly use on patients.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office; and Margaret R. Cooke, Acting Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Callahan of Mendell’s Health Care Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.