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Case Number: 2:19-cr-00010-HCN-CMR
Judge: Howard C. Nielson, Jr.
Court: United States District Court for the District of Utah (Salt Lake County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Salt Lake City, Utah criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with three counts related to fraudulently obtaining and tampering with the pain killing narcotic hydromorphone, a powerful schedule II opioid drug that is used to treat patients with moderate to severe pain.
During Pehrson’s employment as a nurse at an Intermountain Healthcare facility on a surgical and trauma ward, that he diverted hydromorphone from pre-loaded syringes for his personal use, replaced the pain medication with saline solution, and then returned the syringes containing greatly reduced amounts of the pain killer hydromorphone for medical use by other hospital staff. Pehrson was also convicted of making false statements to a special agent from the Food and Drug Administration about his illegal activity while under investigation for his crimes. Pehrson’s sentencing is scheduled for October 12th.
“Today’s guilty verdicts are proof that healthcare providers will be held accountable for stealing, using, or tampering with opioid pain medications meant for patients that are suffering,” said Acting United States Attorney Andrea T. Martinez. “The opioid epidemic has many faces, and no one is immune from the problems that we face in society with drug addiction. I commend the hospital staff who reported the defendant’s illegal activity to federal law enforcement.”
“The FDA oversees the U.S. drug supply to ensure that it is safe and effective, and those who knowingly tamper with medicines put patients’ health at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Kansas City Field Office. “We will continue to protect the public health and bring to justice health care professionals who take advantage of their unique position and compromise their patients’ health and comfort by tampering with needed drugs.”
Assistant United States Attorneys from the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case against Pehrson. Special Agents from the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations conducted the investigation.
18:1365(a) ATTEMPT TO TAMPER WITH CONSUMER PRODUCT Tampering with Consumer Products
21:843(a)(3) UNLAWFUL ACTS - CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE - POSSESS Fraudulently Obtaining a Controlled Substance
18:1001 STATEMENTS OR ENTRIES GENERALLY False Statement or Representation Made to a Department of Agency of the United States
Outcome: 07/22/2021 106 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Howard C. Nielson, Jr:
Jury Trial as to Nathan Pehrson held on 7/22/2021:
Jury arrived at 8:30 a.m. and began to continue their deliberations. Jury returned with a verdict of guilty on all 3 counts. Jury polled. Jury thanked and excused. Out of the Jury presence, Court ruled and Denied defendants motion to dismiss count 3 of the indictment. Court made findings on the record. Court sets sentencing for 10/12/2021 at 2:00 p.m. Post Trial motions are due by Friday, August 6th, 2021. The defendant continues on conditions of release pending sentencing.
( Sentencing set for 10/12/2021 at 02:00 PM in Rm 7.300 before Judge Howard C. Nielson Jr..)
Attorney for Plaintiff: Sam Pead and Jamie Zenger, Attorney for Defendant: Rudy Bautista. Court Reporter: Teena Green, RPR, CRR, CBC. (reb) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 107 **SEALED DOCUMENT** Jury List as to Nathan Pehrson (reb) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 108 Govt and Dft Witness List by USA and Nathan Pehrson. (reb) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 109 EXHIBIT LIST by USA as to Nathan Pehrson. (reb) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 110 EXHIBIT LIST by Nathan Pehrson (reb) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 111 Jury Instructions as to Nathan Pehrson (reb) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 112 **SEALED DOCUMENT** Jury Notes as to Nathan Pehrson. (reb) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 113 JURY VERDICT as to Nathan Pehrson (1) Guilty on Count 1,2,3. (reb) (Entered: 07/22/2021)