ERIE, Pa.—A supermarket pharmacy technician and her husband have been sentenced in federal court for selling 80,000 painkilling pills she stole from her workplace in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Thirty-year-old Nicole Velez stole the pills while working at a Giant Eagle pharmacy in Millcreek Township, near Erie, from January 2009 and February 2010. She has been sentenced to three years' probation while her husband, 33-year-old Richard Velez, will do 46 months in prison for his role in the scheme.

The Erie Times-News ( says the primary reason for the different sentences was that Richard Velez has a criminal record while his wife does not.

Federal agents say the pills were sold for $3 to $5 each by Richard Velez at a tattoo parlor where he worked and out of the couple's former residence in Erie.


Information from: Erie Times-News,