AG: Luzerne County tip led to widespread fake prescription ring

Shapiro -

HARRISBURG — A sharp-eyed Luzerne County physician sparked an investigation that led to charges against 10 people in an alleged fake prescription ring, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Wednesday.

Tracie Peurifoy, 37, of Philadelphia, who created fake prescriptions on her home computer using the names of physicians from across Pennsylvania – none of whom were involved in the scheme. Peurifoy is charged with violating the Controlled Substance Act, conspiracy, and corrupt organizations.

The “pill mill” case began last June, when a doctor here noticed a prescription which he did not write had been filled using his name. The physician was not identified in a release distributed Wednesday.

He reported the issue to the Office of Attorney General. Investigators reviewed surveillance video to determine that Russel Morris, 32, of Granite Road, Melrose Park, had fraudulently filled the prescription. Agents also learned that Morris had been driving a rental car at the time — leased by Peurifoy, the AG’s office said.

Over nine months, the ring obtained at least 3,500 pills for Oxycodone, Alprazolam and Flexeril. Investigators estimate these pills were worth approximately $75,000. The prescription drugs were given to Peurifoy by her conspirators in exchange for a $150 payment per filled prescription.

Peurifoy falsified the prescriptions and gave them to her conspirators to fill, along with rental cars leased in her name and instructions on which pharmacies to use. The conspirators travelled to 17 different counties to fill the fraudulent prescriptions: York, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Allegheny, Delaware, Montgomery, Lebanon, Philadelphia, Pike, Wayne, Centre, Cambria, Somerset, Berks, Cumberland, Northampton and Dauphin.

AG’s office investigators worked with Fairview Township police and other agencies to piece together the case.

All of the suspects were from the Philadelphia area.

“Prescription drug abuse is fueling the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania, and my office is focused on stopping the illegal diversion of these powerful drugs,” Shapiro said.

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