FAIRBANKS — A former postal service worker in Fairbanks who stole prescription medication from the mail has been sentenced to four months in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline on Friday also ordered James Dzimitrowicz Jr. to serve one year of supervised release, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
The 47-year-old North Pole man is accused of taking packages containing federally controlled drugs sent from Fairbanks pharmacies to military veterans and Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center patients around the state. The theft occurred between July 2011 and January 2014 while Dzimitrowicz worked at a Fairbanks post office.
The case was initially in state court but was dismissed last fall after the prosecution referred it to federal court. Dzimitrowicz had already entered a guilty plea and was scheduled for sentencing when the state withdrew from the case.
M.J. Haden, Dzimitrowicz’s attorney, described her client as a man who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the first Gulf War and was further affected after witnessing his friend die in a gold mining accident. She said Dzimitrowicz did not steal the prescription pain medication for monetary gain, but because he was addicted to the drugs.
But Daniel Jenson, the pharmacy chief at Chief Andrew Isaac, said at Friday’s sentencing hearing that Dzimitrowicz’s actions were “callous, selfish and injurious.” He said Dzimitrowicz had hurt several people, including one cancer patient who suffered seizures and had to be medically evacuated at the cost of over $20,000 because Dzimitrowicz stole his phenobarbital prescription.
In handing down the four-month sentence, Judge Beistline told Dzimitrowicz he appreciated his military service but it would be a miscarriage of justice if he was not punished with jail time.
“We all have problems,” Beistline said. “You have to deal with it, but you don’t do it by hurting other people.”