Crime

Former Coast nurse will spend time in prison for embezzling $54,000

Sherrie Box Bennett
Sherrie Box Bennett

A former Coast nurse has been sentenced to prison for writing narcotic prescriptions for herself and family members under a Biloxi oncologist’s name. She also has been ordered to repay $54,636 she embezzled from an oncology center’s bankruptcy estate.

Sherrie Box Bennett, 57, and her husband, Jerry Dean Bennett, 59, both of Vancleave, were sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court following a two-week trial. Her husband was convicted of distributing prescriptions she wrote illegally.

The prescriptions were for oxycodone, oxymorphone and hydrocone, and an anti-anxiety medication, alprazolam.

Judge Sul Ozerden sentenced Sherrie Bennett to six years and six months in prison. He also ordered restitution of money she embezzled from a consolidated Chapter 11 bankruptcy estate involving the Biloxi Radiation Oncology Center. The center was later consolidated with Cedar Lake Oncology Center in a Chapter 11 restructuring.

Bennett was an office manager and registered nurse at the oncology center. The jury believed she wrote prescriptions under the name of Dr. Laurence Lines.

She also had taught nursing students at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Ozerden sentenced Jerry Bennett to two years and three months in prison and fined him $5,000.

The couple were indicted in August 2015 on allegations involving prescriptions written from 2010 through May 2013. A later indictment charged the wife with embezzlement for taking estate money in early 2013.

They had been convicted in November but were granted a new trial.

Deputy Criminal Chief John Meynardie prosecuted the case with Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Jones.

The FBI, DEA, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Mississippi Board of Pharmacy and a U.S. trustee in a related bankruptcy case investigated.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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