The Director of Nursing at a long-term care facility associated with Sisters Hospital is accused of illegally selling prescription drugs out of her office.
Catherine Vitello, 40, of Elma, is accused of selling hydrocodone pills and fentanyl patches to an undercover witness out of her office at St. Catherine Laboure Health Care Center in Buffalo earlier this month.
Vitello was responsible for disposing of the medicines which had been prescribed, but not used. U.S Attorney William Hochul says the unused drugs were stored in Vitello's office and some came from deceased patients.
“Today’s charges involve a health care professional who, instead of being a healer, acted as a drug dealer,” said Hochul. “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.”
Vitello was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah McCarthy Friday afternoon. If convicted, Vitello faces up to 20 years in prison, and a $1 million fine.
Catholic Health officials say the drugs Vitello is accused to dealing are believed to be unused medications intended for disposal. She is on administrative leave as the investigation continues.