A Merrick nurse was arrested and arraigned on Tuesday for allegedly stealing more than 1,000 vials of fentanyl and midazolam last year from her now-former place of employment at North Shore University Hospital, according to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Melissa Frame, 36, has been charged with one count of third-degree and one count of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, one count of fourth-degree grand larceny, and five counts of first-degree falsifying business records.
“The defendant worked in a cardiac unit of the hospital and had access to highly-controlled substances like fentanyl,” Singas said. “She allegedly stole more than 1,400 vials of the dangerous drug in less than two and a half months. I thank Northwell Health for reporting this employee to law enforcement and for their cooperation in this matter.”
Frame allegedly stole 1,467 vials of fentanyl and 223 vials of midazolam between October and December 2020, Singas said. She was arraigned before Judge David Levine on Tuesday, released, and is due back in court on May 25.
Prosecutors allege that Frame used her fingerprint and unique identification number to access a medication machine more than 50 times. Hospital staff at Northwell Health reported the activity, cooperated with an investigation, and terminated Frame’s employment, the district attorney’s office said.
Ray Donovan, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration – New York Division (DEA)’s Special Agent in Charge, assisted in the investigation.
“The theft of this fentanyl by a hospital employee is a sad, yet stark reminder of how hard-hitting this opioid epidemic really is,” Donovan said. “I commend the work of our diligent DEA Diversion Investigators and the Nassau County District Attorney’s office for their work on this investigation.”
Steven Gaitman, Esq., is representing Frame in court, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Tova Simpson is prosecuting the case.