Crime

Nurse charged in pill case faces embezzlement charges

OxyContin is among the drugs contributing to a rise in opioid abuse in the United States that has given rise to a dramatic increase in overdose deaths. President Barack Obama on Tuesday will announce a mutli-part program to combat the problem, including new efforts at medical schools to train doctors to provide fewer opiod painkillers.
OxyContin is among the drugs contributing to a rise in opioid abuse in the United States that has given rise to a dramatic increase in overdose deaths. President Barack Obama on Tuesday will announce a mutli-part program to combat the problem, including new efforts at medical schools to train doctors to provide fewer opiod painkillers. AP

GULFPORT -- A nurse indicted on charges of writing narcotic prescriptions for herself and others now also faces embezzlement charges.

According to a new indictment filed April 5 in federal court, Sherrie Box Bennett embezzled a total of $54,636 in three checks in January, March and April 2013.

The 56-year-old Vancleave woman took the money, the indictment said, while she was working for Biloxi Radiation Oncology Center -- later consolidated with Cedar Lake Oncology Center in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring.

The alleged embezzlement occurred between November 2011 and July 2013 in Harrison and Jackson counties.

The drug charges, from an Aug. 4 indictment, allege Bennett used the signature of Dr. Laurence Lions, standing physician, to write prescriptions for painkillers oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and anti-anxiety medication alprazolam for herself, her husband and relatives from sometime in 2010 through May 2013.

A grand jury also indicted her husband, Jerry Dean Bennett, 58.

They each face one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and 10 counts each of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

Both were arraigned on the new indictment Tuesday.

Their trial is set on a court calendar that starts July 19.

They are free on bond.

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