Former Allegheny County scientist gets 60 days in prison
A former Allegheny County scientist was sentenced Tuesday to 60 days in federal prison for taking drugs from evidence, prosecutors said.
U.S. District Judge Mark R. Hornak in Pittsburgh sentenced Matthew Ieraci, 30, who formerly worked in the lab of the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office, on one count of theft from a program receiving federal funds.
Court records show he could have been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $250,000.
According to prosecutors Ieraci admitted that from Feb. 8 through Feb. 27, 2017, he stole 52.45 grams of powder alprazolam, the chemical name for the sedative Xanax.
Ieraci admitted he stole the evidence from a larger quantity of alprazolam that the Postal Inspection Service had submitted to the medical examiner’s office for chemical analysis in connection with an ongoing federal drug-trafficking investigation. Ieraci was assigned to analyze the evidence on behalf of the medical examiner.
Prosecutors said Ieraci also admitted that he had been trained in proper evidence-handling techniques and was aware of the consequences of evidence tampering, including the possibility that such evidence would not be admissible at trial.
Ieraci’s attorney Phil Dilucente said the man will serve his time in a federal prison in Morgantown, W.Va.
He won’t work at the lab again, he said.
Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.