Crime

Federal prison nurse sentenced for $22,000 tobacco-smuggling scheme

File photo of the Federal Medical Center on Leestown Road.
File photo of the Federal Medical Center on Leestown Road. mcornelison@herald-leader.com

A former nurse at the federal prison in Lexington was sentenced Wednesday to a year in prison for smuggling tobacco into the prison in exchange for payments from inmates.

Michael Hardin, 47, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Danny Reeves on a charge of bribery of a public official. Under federal law, Hardin must serve the entire sentence, then and three years of supervised release, the first year of which is home detention.

Hardin was a registered nurse at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington.

According to his plea agreement, from July 2014 to August 2015, Hardin smuggled cigarettes, snuff and chewing tobacco into the prison for inmates, who paid him a total of $22,429 in return. The inmates used relatives and friends to send money to Hardin.

Federal prisoners are prohibited from possessing tobacco.

As a condition of his plea agreement, Hardin must repay all the money he received. He also will be required to complete 400 hours of community service during his supervised release.

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