Police allege Ann Fisher posed as nurse without a license, stole prescription drugs

Last modified: Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A Northampton woman facing charges that she stole drugs and personal items from three elderly people in her care posed fraudulently as a licensed practical nurse, according to police.

A police investigation reportedly found no record of Ann L. Fisher having a nurse’s license in Massachusetts, and found also that her certified nurse’s aide license expired two years ago.

Fisher, 29, of 324 Acrebrook Drive in Florence, pleaded not guilty Monday in Northampton District Court to three counts each of larceny of drugs, larceny over $250 from a person over 60 or disabled, larceny from a building, unauthorized practice of practical nursing, and assault and battery on a person over 60 or disabled.

Police said Fisher had been hired to dispense prescription medications to the three seniors at the Lathrop Communities in Easthampton. But when the pills did not seem to be working, an Easthampton pharmacist examined them and confirmed that the prescription medications had been replaced with over-the-counter medicine, according to police.

Fisher used that method to steal hundreds of prescription pills from the three elderly women in her care at the Lathrop Communities, police said.

Thomas Wright, executive director at Lathrop, said Fisher was not employed by the organization, but hired privately by the residents.

In court Monday, Judge W. Michael Goggins ordered Fisher released on $1,000 personal surety and scheduled her for a pretrial hearing Jan. 9.

The assault and battery charges relate to her role as a caretaker alleged to have committed abuse against clients when she stole prescription pills and replaced them with over-the-counter pills such as antihistamines and ibuprofen, according to an Easthampton police report.

Easthampton police allege Fisher stole 473 prescription pills from two people and an undetermined number from a third person. The three lived in separate residences on Spiceberry Lane at the Lathrop Communities in Easthampton, and were between the ages of 80 and 92.

One of the women reported the theft of diamond earrings, a diamond and ruby engagement ring, silver- and gold-colored rings, a small digital camera and what police described as an “expensive” pen.

Fisher denied taking any of the jewelry or other items when questioned by police, but admitted to stealing the prescription pills from the three residences, according to a report prepared by Easthampton Patrol Officer William Mielke.

The prescription pills include OxyContin, acetaminophen and hydrocodone, methylphenidate hydrochloride, diazepam and Xanax.

In the course of their investigation, Easthampton police determined that Fisher allegedly did not have an active license to practice nursing.

Fisher’s attorney, David Mintz of Northampton, declined to speak about the specific details of the case, but said he plans to examine the police evidence and investigation very closely.

“It’s so early and there are all sorts of potential issues I’m going to be looking into,” Mintz told the Gazette Monday. Fisher has “never been in trouble before and she has a cadre of supporters that are friends and family.”

After searching Fisher’s home on Acrebrook Drive, police seized several prescription bottles and paperwork with her clients’ names on them from her bedroom as well as partially filled bottles of over-the-counter medications that had been previously identified as those put in place of the stolen prescription drugs, according to court records.

Police also confiscated a small camera matching the description of the one reported stolen.

Dan Crowley can be reached at dcrowley@gazettenet.com.


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