Nurse Arrested For Stealing Powerful Narcotics From Clinton County Hospital And Falsely Obtaining Nursing License

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that Sherry L. Jones, a registered nurse who obtained employment at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) in Plattsburgh after being dismissed from hospitals in Vermont and Florida for using drugs, has been charged with stealing powerful narcotic painkillers from CVPH for her own use and then falsifying the hospital's records to conceal the thefts.

Jones also has been charged with lying on her New York State nursing license application for failing to report that:

  • she had criminal charges pending against her in Vermont for the theft of drugs;

  • she had surrendered her license in Florida without contesting the charges of taking drugs while on duty in at least four different hospitals;

  • her license had been suspended in Vermont for stealing drugs and taking them while on duty; and

  • she had been terminated or resigned from a series of hospitals in Florida and Vermont in order to avoid termination.
Jones, who was arrested last week in Hammond, Indiana, on an arrest warrant filed by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, waived extradition, and was arraigned on Wednesday in Clinton County Court before Judge Patrick R. McGill on a twelve-count indictment. She pleaded not guilty, and bail was set at $150,000 cash. The matter was adjourned until April 19.

Spitzer said, "The defendant's history of drug theft and use while on duty is extensive. But perhaps more troubling is the ease in which she could move from state to state and obtain work at various hospitals. Patients put their lives and trust in the hands of nurses and other health care staff. For employees entrusted with such critical responsibilities to abuse drugs is inexcusable and could very well put patients' lives at risk. I hope this prosecution sends a clear message to all health care workers that my office will continue to aggressively ferret out such criminal activity."

According to prosecutors, Jones began the process of applying for a New York State nursing license in May 2001. On June 5th, she applied for a nursing position at CVPH, indicating that her license application was pending. She was hired on June 20th. Eight days later, Jones was issued her license after stating under oath that she had no criminal charges pending against her, that no adverse action had ever been taken against her license, and that she had never been terminated or resigned to avoid termination.

At various times on the evening of October 1st and the morning of October 2nd, it is charged, Jones stole quantities of the narcotic drug Demerol for her own personal use. In order to conceal the thefts, Jones falsified the hospital's records to indicate that the drugs had been administered to patients.

Jones, who is also known as Sherry Goodman and Sherry L. Eicke, lives at 245 North Main Street in St. Albans, Vermont. She worked at CVPH from June 2001 until October 2, 2001, when she was placed on administrative leave.

Jones was charged with eight counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, one count of Making an Apparently Sworn False Statement in the Second Degree, one count of Petit Larceny, and one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree. If convicted, she faces up to four years in prison.

Spitzer thanked CVPH for referring the matter to his office.

The Attorney General also thanked CVPH's administration and staff for their cooperation and assistance during the investigation, as well as the Office of Clinton County District Attorney Richard Cantiwell, the state Department of Education, the Vermont and Florida Boards of Nursing, and the Chittenden County Office of Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell.

Special Assistant Attorney General John P. Miller, who is assigned to the Albany Regional Office of Spitzer's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, is prosecuting the case. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.

The charges against Jones are accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.