Mason City woman going to federal prison for scheme to steal pain medication

Samantha Rogers
Samantha Rogers

Officials say illegally access private information of nearly 2,000 patients.

Posted: Sep 10, 2019 4:58 PM
Updated: Sep 10, 2019 5:00 PM

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A licensed occupational therapist is going to federal prison for accessing the private information of at least 1,900 patients and burglarizing thirteen north central Iowa homes in a search for drugs.

Samantha Jo Rogers, 33 of Mason City, pleaded guilty in March to one count of acquiring and attempting to acquire a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge, one count of wrongfully obtaining individually identifiable health information under false pretenses and with intent to use for personal gain, and one count of false statements relating to health care matters.

Rogers has now been sentenced to one year and two months in federal prison. She was ordered to make $524.59 in restitution to one of the victims of her burglaries and an additional $20.92 to Medicare. Rogers must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term, and she must forfeit her State of Iowa occupational therapy license to the United States.

Federal authorities say that from at least July 2017 through June 2018, Rogers illegally accessed the private health and residence details of 1,900 or more patients, then used the information to locate and travel to their homes. Rogers would try to get the patients' prescription pain medication by pretending to be a public health worker. Other times, Rogers used a crow bar to break into the patients' homes and steal the drugs.

Federal prosecutors say Rogers burglarized the same Forest City home twice in early 2018 in attempts to steal an elderly man’s prescription pain killers. Another one of Rogers’s victims was an elderly woman who had recently been discharged from a Waverly nursing home after receiving skilled nursing care. Investigators say Rogers traveled to the woman’s home in January 2018 and falsely stated that the woman’s doctor did not want her taking her pain medications anymore. She then took the medications from the woman.

As a result of Rogers’s false statements, the woman’s family had to take the woman to the emergency room due to the excruciating pain she began experiencing. She eventually had to return to the Waverly nursing home for more skilled care as a result of Rogers’s actions. Then, after the woman was discharged a second time from the nursing home, Rogers returned to the woman’s home and knocked on her doors and windows trying to get into the home, until one of the woman’s family members arrived to help.

United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams called Rogers’ crimes “egregious” and emphasized that the victims of her burglaries would never fully regain the sense of safety they had previously felt in their homes.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Vavricek and investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mason City Police Department. The Worth County Sheriff’s Office, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, the Hampton Police Department, the Clear Lake Police Department, and the Iowa State Patrol also assisted in Rogers’ prosecution.

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