Fraudulent pill mill shut down by authorities, attorney general announces

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Charges were brought against 10 people for their use of home computers to write fake prescriptions, allowing them to obtain more than 3,500 pills for Oxycodone, Alprazolam, and Flexeril across 17 Pennsylvania counties, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced this week.

The prescription pill mill was run by Tracie Peurifoy, 37, who used her home computer to create fake prescriptions using the names of real physicians throughout Pennsylvania. None of the physicians were aware or involved with Peurifoy’s scheme. She is charged with violating the Controlled Substance Act, conspiracy, and corrupt organizations.

“We’re prosecuting dealers who are fueling this crisis, whether it’s heroin on street corners or illegal pills from a doctor’s pad,” 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.”

Agents with the Office of Attorney General charged 216 individuals for illegally diverting prescriptions in 2017. This reflected a 72 percent increase over 2016.

The most recent pill mill case began in June 2017 when a Luzerne County doctor noticed a prescription he did not administer was filled using his name. Following his report to the Office of Attorney General, authorities found that Russel Morris, 32, had fraudulently filled the prescription and was driving a rental car that had been leased by Peurifoy.

“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.”

The 17 counties where Peurifoy’s fraudulent prescriptions were filled were York, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Allegheny, Delaware, Montgomery, Lebanon, Philadelphia, Pike, Wayne, Centre, Cambria, Somerset, Berks, Cumberland, Northampton, and Dauphin counties.

Authorities estimate that the 3,500 pills obtained during the ring’s nine-month operation were worth approximately $75,000. Peurifoy paid her conspirators $150 per filled prescription.

“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.”

Since taking office in 2017, Shapiro’s office has collected and destroyed more than 63 tons of drugs through partnerships with local law enforcement, district attorneys, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the National Guard.