A registered nurse formerly employed with the VA Medical Center in Pineville, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell to one count of fraudulently obtaining Hydromorphone, according to U.S. Attorney David Joseph’s office.

Hydromorphone, a Schedule II controlled substance, is a powerful opioid designed to relieve pain, but can also be abused and sold on the black market.

While working as a registered nurse at the VA Medical Center Urgent Care Clinic, Jolie King, 40, of Alexandria, used her position as a registered nurse to access the clinic’s narcotics supply cabinet and retrieve vials of controlled substance medications that were intended for the treatment of patients. As a part of the plea agreement reached today, King admitted that she used the drugs for her own personal use.

King also admitted that she would log into the narcotics supply cabinet, randomly select a patient’s name, and then withdraw the drugs without a physician’s orders. In one instance, in an attempt to avoid detection, she refilled two vials with saline solution and placed them back in the supply cabinet. From September 2017 to October 2018, she fraudulently acquired approximately 31 vials of Hydromorphone and two vials of Morphine.

A sentencing date has not been set. King faces up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian C. Flanagan is prosecuting the case.

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