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Ex-Des Moines hospital worker sentenced for painkiller theft

July 10, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former Des Moines hospital pharmacy worker accused of stealing painkillers from hundreds of patients has been sentenced to more than 2 years in federal prison.

Federal prosecutors say 30-year-old Victor Van Cleave was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months.

Van Cleave pleaded guilty in February to product tampering. In exchange, prosecutors dropped a charge of obtaining fentanyl by misrepresentation, fraud, deception and subterfuge.

Officials say Van Cleave was a pharmacy technician at Iowa Methodist Medical Center who used a syringe to steal fentanyl and other powerful painkillers from vials, then replaced the painkillers with sterile water. Many of the painkillers were to be used for patients undergoing surgery or giving birth.

Several lawsuits filed against the hospital say patients suffered needless pain because of the thefts.

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