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10 Charged with Operating Prescription Pill Mill in Pennsylvania, Including Centre County

by on May 23, 2018 11:00 AM

Ten people were charged on Wednesday in connection with a prescription pill mill that allegedly used home computers to generate fake prescriptions to obtain Oxycodone and other drugs in 17 counties, including Centre County.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Tracie Peurifoy, 37, of Philadelphia, ran the operation, creating the fake prescriptions using the names of doctors across the state. None of the doctors were involved in the scheme, according to a news release.

Peurifoy is charged with violating the Controlled Substance Act, conspiracy, and corrupt organizations.

The investigation began nearly a year ago when a Luzerne County doctor discovered a prescription he didn't write was filled using his name. Investigators reviewed surveillance video that allegedly showed Russel Morris, 32, of Melrose Park, had filled the prescription. Morris had been driving a rental car that was leased to Peurifoy, according to the AG's office.

Shapiro praised the Luzerne County physician and other doctors who aided in the investigation.

“Because of these doctors’ vigilance, our agents and local police were able to identify and break up this prescription pill mill,” Shapiro said. “We’re asking pharmacists and medical professionals across our Commonwealth: If you see something wrong, say something. We’ll act on your information.”

State investigators and four police departments collaborated on the investigation, which allegedly found that Peurifoy falsified the prescriptions, rented cars for her conspirators to use and gave them instructions on what pharmacies to use, paying them $150 for each filled prescription.

Shapiro said that over nine months the operation obtained at least 3,500 pills of Oxycodone, Alprazolam and Flexeril worth an estimated $75,000. In addition to Centre County, the fraudulent prescriptions were filled in York, Luzerene, Lackawanna, Allegheny, Delaware, Montgomery, Lebanon, Philadelphia, Pike, Wayne, Cambria, Somerset, Berks, Cumberland, Northampton and Dauphin counties.

“Thanks to strong law enforcement collaboration, this fraudulent prescription pill mill is shut down,” Shapiro said. “I want to thank the police departments in Fairview Township, Central Berks, Southern York and North Cornwall for working together with my office on this case.”

Along with Peurifoy and Morris, eight others from the Philadelphia area are charged with felony drug offenses.

Director of Diversion Robert Smulktis will prosecute the case.

Shapiro said that studies show 80 percent of heroin users began their drug abuse by using prescription drugs. 

“We’re prosecuting dealers who are fueling this crisis, whether it’s heroin on street corners or illegal pills from a doctor’s pad,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Prescription drug abuse is fueling the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania, and my office is focused on stopping the illegal diversion of these powerful drugs."



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at geoff.rushton@statecollege.com or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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