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Ithaca woman pleads guilty to improperly dispensing drugs at Samaritan

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WATERTOWN — An Ithaca woman who worked as a traveling nurse at Samaritan Medical Center pleaded guilty Monday in Jefferson County Court to a charge that she unlawfully dispensed medication at the hospital.

Heather L. Graham, 42, pleaded guilty to second-degree falsifying business records and a prohibited act under state Public Health Law. She entered her pleas using an Alford plea, meaning she did not admit to the underlying facts in the case, but was pleading guilty to avoid the possibility of facing a harsher sentence if found guilty at trial.

She pleaded guilty to a prohibited act that contained an allegation that on April 14 she intentionally removed a controlled substance from an automated medication dispensing unit in Samaritan’s emergency department without a lawful reason or a doctor’s prescription. She also pleaded guilty to making a false entry in Samaritan’s records for the purpose of concealing that she stole controlled substances.

She is expected to be sentenced June 17 to three years’ probation.

In other court activity, David A. Brooks, 31, Chesapeake, Va., formerly of Fort Drum, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree attempted grand larceny and third-degree assault. He admitted that on June 4 he tried to take unspecified property from Dana M. McMahon in Watertown and that on the same day he got into a physical altercation with her. Police said at the time of his arrest that a cellphone and debit card were taken from the victim.

Mr. Brooks is expected to be sentenced June 20 to 30 days in the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building. He also paid $800 in restitution up front.

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