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Former VA Medical Center Worker Charged With Stealing HIV Medications

Former VA Medical Center Worker Charged With Stealing HIV Medications

VA Medical Center
Photo via Veterans Affairs

She's accused of stealing more than $10 million worth of meds from 2015 to 2019. 

Authorities in New Jersey have indicted a former pharmacy procurement technician at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in East Orange for allegedly stealing HIV medication worth more than $10 million.

According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Lisa Hoffman, 48, of Orange, N.J., was charged with one count each of conspiracy, theft of government property, and theft of medical products.

The DOJ alleges that from October 2015 until November 2019, Hoffman would order large quantities of HIV prescription medications as the procurement officer at the VA medical center so that she would be able to steal the excess medication.

Hoffman would then meet an associate, Wagner Checonolasco, and give Checonolasco the medications for cash, the DOJ says. They would use an encrypted messaging app to plan their thefts and sales of the HIV drugs, according to the indictment.

“After obtaining the stolen HIV medications from Hoffman, Checonolasco sold them. Hoffman and Checonolasco stole approximately $10 million worth of HIV medications belonging to the VAMC during the conspiracy,” the DOJ says.

Checonolasco, 33, had previously been charged with conspiracy to steal government property, according to the press release. Those charges are pending.

Hoffman faces a maximum of 35 years in prison if convicted.

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