A former nurse from Coon Rapids has been sentenced to a year in prison for stealing hundreds of powerful painkillers from two elderly patients and selling them at a bar for enough to make a down payment on a second home.

Bert A. Sieler, 41, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Minneapolis to one year in prison after pleading guilty to obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

Sieler admitted stealing hundreds of Percocet pills from two Volunteers of America patients at an assisted-living center and then selling them at a bar for $10 each.

One of the patient's relatives said that the thefts resulted in pain that "was unmanageable and caused her to cry daily and lose sleep," according to court documents.

A state Health Department report into the thefts said Sieler's victims at the Minneapolis facility included a woman suffering from lung cancer and depression, and another woman with "moderate mental retardation" and chronic pain. He also stole Percocet that was about to be disposed of following another patient's death, the state report added.

To cover up the thefts, Sieler ordered extra Percocet and Tylenol, and swapped the over-the-counter drug for the narcotic. He intended to put his ill-gotten gains toward buying a condominium.

Sieler was fired in March 2011, three days after another employee detected the drug swap.

The state's investigation found that Sieler admitted stealing 440 Percocet pills over a three-month period. At $10 a pill, he would have collected $4,400 and "had enough for a down payment on a second home," the state report read.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482