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February 20, 2019

CVS employee accused of stealing $2.5 million worth of diabetic test strips

February 12, 2019
FILE – This Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, file photo shows a CVS Pharmacy. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)

A former CVS employee in western New York State could spend 20 years in prison and be subject to a $250,000 fine for his blatant theft of $2.5 million worth of diabetic test strips, authorities say.

Antonio Rivera, 35, of Williamsville, N.Y., was charged on Friday with theft of pre-retail medical products; trafficking in stolen pre-retail medical products; conspiracy to sell and distribute stolen pre-retail medical products; and wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s office of the Western District of New York announced.

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Diabetes Indicator Strips For Blood Glucose Testing
Diabetes Indicator Strips For Blood Glucose Testing (Laures / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Since February 2007, Rivera had worked as a senior assistant purchasing associate for CVS Pharmacy, assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Marangola said in the statement. His job entailed ordering “a variety of retail products sold by CVS, including diabetic test strips,” the statement said.

Last summer the Humboldt CVS in Rochester was red-flagged with an unusual volume of diabetic test strip purchases, and Rivera’s alleged caper unraveled from there.

“A package located in the store’s shipping area did not have a CVS label, included Rivera’s return address, and came from a company with which CVS does not do business,” the justice department statement said. “A subsequent internal investigation by CVS determined that Rivera routinely purchased diabetic test strips in excessive amounts, well over the need for the Humboldt location. The audit could not account for 20,203 boxes purchased by Rivera, for a total financial loss of approximately $2,535,307.62.”

Allegedly Rivera ordered the extra strips, intercepted the shipments and sold the loot to third-party purchasers. His transactions were all recorded in his bank statements.

At one point, according to Beckers Hospital Review, Rivera’s PayPal account contained $718,629 in “wire fraud proceeds.”

With more than 30 million Americans having Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and with boxes costing $100 for 100 strips, there is a huge market for buying and selling the strips, The New York Times reported last month.

While reselling unused diabetic test strips is legal, stealing them isn’t.

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