Orange woman sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison for stealing HIV medication

NEWARK, NJ — A former pharmacy procurement technician was sentenced on May 26 to 57 months in prison for stealing prescription HIV medications from the pharmacy of the East Orange Veterans Affairs Medical Center, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Lisa M. Hoffman, 50, of Orange, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to the second count of an indictment charging her with theft of government property. 

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, from October 2015 through November 2019, Hoffman was a procurement officer at the VAMC and used her authority to order medication for the outpatient pharmacy, including ordering large quantities of HIV medication. Hoffman admitted that she stole HIV prescription medications from the VAMC pharmacy and sold it to her conspirator, Wagner Checonolasco, 35, of Lyndhurst, in exchange for cash. Checonolasco previously admitted to conspiring with Hoffman to steal HIV medication belonging to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The loss amount was more than $8.2 million.

In addition to the prison term, Salas sentenced Hoffman to three years of supervised release, ordered restitution of $8.29 million and forfeiture of $450,000.

Checonolasco previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to steal government property and was sentenced in February to 42 months in prison.