Former VA Employee Indicted for Stealing Over $10 Million Worth of HIV Meds

A former federal employee from a New Jersey VA Medical Center has been indicted for theft of approximately $10 million worth of HIV medications.

A former employee from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in East Orange, NJ has been indicted for stealing approximately $10 million worth of HIV medications  according to an announcement from the Justice Department.

Lisa M. Hoffman, 48, of Orange, New Jersey, is charged by indictment with one count each of conspiracy, theft of government property, and theft of medical products.

According to the case documents, Hoffman worked as a procurement officer at the VAMC from October 2015 through November 2019 used her authority to order large quantities of HIV prescription medications so that she could steal the excess. After the medications arrived, Hoffman waited until co-workers were out of sight and then removed them from the facility.

After stealing the medications, she met her associate, Wagner Checonolasco, aka “Wanny,” generally at Hoffman’s residence, to sell the medications for cash. They used an encrypted messaging application to plan and execute their thefts and sales. Checonolasco then sold them after buying them from Hoffman. Checonolasco was previously charged with conspiracy to steal government property, and those charges remain pending.

The conspiracy charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The theft of government property charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The charge of theft of medical products is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Each charge also is punishable by a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain derived from the offense, or twice the gross pecuniary loss sustained by any victims of the offense, whichever is greatest. The theft of medical products charge also carries a civil penalty of $1 million, or three times the economic loss attributable to the offense.

The charges and allegations against the defendants are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.