Gainesville clinic nurse accused of stealing, seeking to distribute painkillers

A federal grand jury this month indicted a nurse at a Gainesville medical facility who has been accused of stealing and seeking to distribute painkillers she allegedly stole from her employer.

Anne Bartell Hansen-Shipe, 42, a Fauquier County resident, would place orders for Oxycodone and Percocet for patients under her care at the Gainesville Health and Rehabilitation Center in Heritage Village Plaza, according to Alexandria federal district court records.

Hansen-Shipe placed multiple orders for Percocet and Oxycodone to be delivered to patients. The patient’s charts, maintained by Hansen-Shipe, would show that the pills had been administered, “but the patients themselves complained to other members of the center’s staff about not receiving their pills,” according to an affidavit.

“These records show that medications only went missing from Hansen-Shipe’s patients, and only when Hansen-Shipe was on duty,” the affidavit said.

Hansen-Shipe’s defense attorney, Denise Tassi, said she has doubts about the government’s case. “The government has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and all I’m seeing is doubt,” she said of documents provided in support of the affidavit which are not yet publicly available. Tassi declined to elaborate on what the documents contained or why she doubted they proved her client’s involvement in the alleged scheme.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Terwilliger declined to comment on the case.

Administrators at the Gainesville health center also did not return phone calls seeking comment. Tassi said that Hansen-Shipe has told her that she quit her job there.

Other employees raised suspicions about Hansen-Shipe and maintained separate records from hers because of their suspicions, the affidavit said.

At least 435 tablets of Percocet and 315 tablets of Oxycodone went missing from the center from May until August last year, according to court records.

Federal authorities have sought to crack down on abuse of the painkillers. Green 80-milligram tablets of OxyContin, a brand name for the drug, are the most popularly sold and abused amount, according to the Department of Justice. Pills are sold on the street for $40 to $80. According to the DOJ, there has been an uptick in the number of teenagers abusing the prescription medication.

Abuse of painkillers can have serious long-term effects, authorities say, and the drugs are addictive.

Hansen-Shipe has been indicted on one charge of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance. A court date has not been set.

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