CHIPPEWA FALLS — A nurse has been convicted of stealing medication from three nursing homes in west central Wisconsin.
Dana A. Wheeler, 36, of Mondovi pleaded no contest Wednesday in Chippewa County Court to two misdemeanor counts of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud, and one felony count of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud. As part of the plea agreement, other charges were read in and dismissed.
Judge Steve Cray ordered her to pay $443 on each of the misdemeanors, and he gave her a deferred acceptance on the felony count for one year. As part of the agreement, she must complete counseling courses. He warned her to follow rules of the deferred acceptance to avoid him imposing the felony conviction.
“I think you are a smart person,” Cray told Wheeler before sentencing her. “I’m not sure how wise you are. You aren’t making wise decisions.”
Defense attorney Lucy Bjork told Cray that Wheeler had no prior criminal offenses, and she wasn’t likely to re-offend. Assistant district attorney Scott Zehr agreed that the agreement is appropriate.
According to the criminal complaint:
A worker at Atrium Health Care in Bloomer contacted police, saying that an employee at the nursing home had her name forged in a book that tracks the narcotic counts. Oxycodone, a controlled substance, had been signed out. The officer could observe that the signature on the form didn’t match the nurse’s prior signatures.
The officer learned that Wheeler was a likely suspect; she had signed out oxycodone 11 times for one resident.
“Wheeler signed for it more than any other staff personnel,” the document reads.
When the officer interviewed her, Wheeler admitted she took the pills, including Vicodin, oxycodone and lorazepam. She also admitted to taking pills from other nursing homes she worked at in Chetek and Menomonie.
Wheeler was ordered to have no contact with Atrium Health Care.