Nurse accused of stealing drugs at three nursing homes granted treatment sentence

A nurse accused of stealing prescription painkillers and forging signatures at a Kettering nursing home where she worked was granted treatment in lieu of conviction.

Deja Marie Thomas, 35, of Fairborn, who also is accused of stealing drugs at two other area nursing homes, was ordered to receive rehabilitation treatment for at least a year and no more than five years, according to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court records filed Monday.

The order was issued April 10 after Thomas pleaded guilty to theft of drugs and two counts of forgery.

Thomas is a licensed practical nurse whose license is active with board action pending, according to the Ohio Board of Nursing.

The incidents happened Feb. 28, 2023, at Oak Creek Terrace — a residential nursing, rehabilitation and assisted living facility at 2316 Springmill Road in Kettering — her indictment stated.

She stole oxycodone pills from her former employer, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. Oxycodone is an opioid commonly prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain; however, the drug has a high risk for addiction and dependence, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

The prosecutor’s office had filed a motion in opposition to intervention for Thomas because she has a case pending in Clark County and faces action against her LPN license for similar drug theft and forgery allegations in March 2022 from her time working at a Miami County care facility.

Among ILC conditions ordered by Judge Dennis Adkins, Thomas is not permitted to work in any position where she may have access to narcotic medications, dangerous drugs or medical supplies during the time she is under rehabilitative treatment.

Thomas has worked at multiple nursing facilities spanning three counties where she later has been accused of forgery and theft. In addition to the incident at Oak Creek Terrace, Thomas was accused of similar actions at the following:

  • Troy Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Troy in March 2022;
  • Dayspring in Clark County in April, May and early June 2023; and,
  • The Sanctuary at Wilmington Place in Dayton in June 2023.

In Clark County, Thomas has a trial scheduled for May 22 on five felony theft charges, common pleas court records show.

Drug thefts at Troy Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center were reported to the Troy Police Department, but court records show no charges were filed against Thomas in Miami County.

The Ohio Board of Nursing on Jan. 25 sent Thomas a notice that the board is considering taking actions against her LPN license. That notice references the allegations against her in Miami and Montgomery counties, but not Clark County.

While the first incident cited in nursing board records is alleged to have occurred a year before the others and was reported to police, no official action was taken by the nursing board until January 2024.

Board action against Thomas is pending, with her LPN license set to expire at the end of October.

Thomas has no prior discipline from the Ohio Board of Nursing. It is unknown when and how the complaints against Thomas were made to the board. All information gathered by the Ohio Board of Nursing, including the original complaint, is confidential and cannot be shared outside the board, a representative of the board said.

Allegations against a licensee are not public, so they likely would not show up on a background check, with the exception of the criminal charges against Thomas. However, an employer could ask potential employees whether they are aware of a pending investigation during the application and interview process.

Samantha Wildow contributed to this story.

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