ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A nurse from Fort Ann pleaded guilty on Friday to distributing drugs outside the course of professional practice and for no legitimate medical purpose. Danielle Simonson, 51, faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1M, as well as up to three years of post-imprisonment supervised release.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Simonson admitted that from at least January 2020 to October 2022, she unlawfully prescribed drugs to a total of 54 patients in her criminal plea agreement. These prescriptions were for the opioids hydrocodone and oxycodone, benzodiazepines (clonazepam, diazepam, and lorazepam), and amphetamine (Adderall).
The DOJ says Simonson admitted she issued a total of 63 oxycodone prescriptions to two residents of Suffolk County without treating either of them for a medical condition. These residents reportedly paid Simonson by mailing her packages of cash.
In the civil settlement agreement, Simonson admitted to improperly prescribing 105 patients controlled substances (which include the 54 listed in her criminal plea agreement). The DOJ says she would often do this without ever examining patients or maintaining medical records to justify the prescriptions.
She is scheduled to be sentenced on December 15. The DOJ also says she has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle civil claims.