BUFFALO, NY-- A Director of Nursing at a local health care facility is facing charges for allegedly selling prescription drugs.
Federal officials say Cathy Vitello, 40 of Elma, who is the Director of Nursing for Saint Catherine Laboure Health Care Center (part of Sister's Hospital) was arrested Friday morning on federal charges of selling prescription pills.
Vitello is accused of selling thousands of dollars worth of prescription pills, including hydrocodone, fentanyl and alprazolam, to a cooperating witness twice this month.
"Today's charges involve a health care professional who, instead of being a healer, acted as a drug dealer," said U.S. Attorney William Hochul in a released statement. "Just last week, a jury convicted a local physician of writing over 10,000 illegal prescriptions. Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in this country and we will continue to do our part to prosecute those who contribute to that epidemic."
Search warrants are being issued to find out exactly how many pills Vitello allegedly sold.
Vitello was arraigned in Federal Court. She was released on her own recognizance.
If convicted, Vitello coudl face up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
Catholic Health released this statement:
This morning, DEA Officials arrived at St. Catherine Laboure Health Care Center to search the office of Cathy Vitello, a director of Nursing for the long term care facility. The DEA informed St. Catherine's administration that Vitello has been arrested at her home earlier for allegedly stealing medications from the center. St. Catherine's officials believe no medications were taken from supplies meant for the facility's residents. It is believed the medications under investigation were unused and intended for disposal. St. Catherine's officials are cooperating with the DEA in their investigation. Vitello has been director of Nursing at St. Catherine's since November 2012. She has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.