A Burlington woman who fraudulently obtained more than 8,000 hydrocodone pills has pleaded guilty in federal court.
Heather Smith Elliott, 41, misused a Duke University Medical Center neurosurgeon's prescription identification in the scheme to purchase the pills from CVS pharmacies in Alamance and Guilford counties. She pleaded guilty on Oct. 4 to controlled substance offenses and other crimes, according to a press release from acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston.
Elliott pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining hydrocodone pills, a Schedule II controlled substance, by use of forged and fraudulent prescriptions and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Court documents showed that Elliott forged and counterfeited approximately 132 prescriptions for hydrocodone. Each of these had the name and DEA number of a neurosurgeon at Duke University Medical Center. She forged prescriptions for friends and family members, including an ex-boyfriend, a former employee, her former husband, her son and a neighbor. None of these people were patients of the Duke neurosurgeon.
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Elliott also made use of a fraudulently obtained Bank of America credit card in the name of her former boyfriend to pay for at least one of the false prescriptions.
Obtaining a controlled substance through use of a fraudulent prescription is punishable by up to four years in federal prison. Wire fraud is punishable by up to twenty years in federal prison. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by two years in federal prison consecutive to any other prison sentences imposed by the court.
Elliott also faces a fine of up to $250,000. She will be sentenced Jan. 18, 2018.