Veterinary hospital office manager sentenced for stealing opioids from clinic


Confessed to stealing the veterinary drugs for her personal use

Melissa Paradise, 43, of West Barnstable, Massachusetts was sentenced on June 15, 2022, in federal court in Boston for stealing hydrocodone—an opioid and Schedule II controlled substance—from the veterinary clinic she was employed at.

She was sentenced by US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to time served (about 1 day in prison) and 1 year of supervised release. According to a US Department of Justice news release,1 on February 10, 2022, Paradise pleaded guilty to 6 counts of obtaining a controlled substance using a registration number allotted to another individual and 8 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, and subterfuge.

Investigators were suspicious of an abnormally large amount of hydrocodone being ordered by that animal hospital in late 2018 and 2019.1 Therefore, in June 2019, they conducted an audit and Paradise was found as in charge of managing record keeping surrounding prescriptions.

When Paradise entered the office on the day of the audit she confessed to investigators that she used the DEA registration number assigned to a veterinarian in the clinic without the veterinarian’s knowledge or consent to order controlled substances which she then stole for personal use. Additionally, she admitted she forged an another veterinarian’s signature on other prescription documents and used the drugs for herself.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division. Significant assistance was offered by the Barnstable Police Department. Assistant US Attorney Nadine Pellegrini of Rollins’ Criminal Division prosecuted the case.1


West Barnstable woman sentenced for stealing opioids from veterinary office. News release. The United States Attorney’s Office District of Massachusetts. June 17, 2022. Accessed June 20, 2022.

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