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Press Release

Cumberland County Woman Sentenced To 30 Months’ Imprisonment For False Statements Concerning Her Adoptive Daughter’s Medical Care

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Shelley Noreika, age 49, of Dillsburg, PA, was sentenced to 30 months’ incarceration by United States District Judge Sylvia H. Rambo for making False Statements Relating to Health Care Matters. 

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Noreika fabricated serious illnesses and made fraudulent statements to healthcare providers in connection with her 5-year-old adoptive daughter.  As result of Noreika’s false statements, the minor child was subjected to unnecessary medical treatment and the downstream insurers incurred monetary losses in the six-figures. In particular, and as admitted by Noreika to federal investigators, Noreika told her daughter to pretend and fake having a seizure while Noreika videotaped her.  Noreika then emailed the video clip of the fake seizure to her daughter’s pediatric neurologist, along with false statements concerning the minor child’s medical condition.  On multiple other occasions, Noreika likewise falsely reported to medical providers that her daughter experienced seizures, when in fact no such seizures occurred.  In fact, at no point did Noreika ever witness her daughter have an actual seizure.

As recognized by both the government and defense, Noreika’s conduct is consistent with factitious disorder imposed on another, formerly known as munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental illness in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury to a person under their care, to gain attention and sympathy for themselves.  However, the government pointed out to the Court there was also a clear financial motive – Noreika received enhanced Medicare and adoption subsidiaries for taking care of a medically ill child, and she promoted the minor child’s purported conditions to seek donations from local organizations and through online fundraising efforts. 

“Today’s sentencing sends a strong message that protecting children is a top priority,” said Special Agent in Charge Maureen R. Dixon of the Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Philadelphia Regional Office. “HHS-OIG will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse against children and ensure claims submitted to federal and state programs by caregivers are truthful and accurate. We would like to thank the Pennsylvania State Police and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their partnership and commitment in this investigation.”

In addition to the 30-month prison sentence, the Court ordered Shelley Noreika to serve three years of supervised release following incarceration, and to pay a fine of $500 and restitution of $137,710.86 to the victims of the offense.  Noreika is no longer in care of the minor child, and she also faces related state charges which are pending. 

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) Harrisburg Field Office, and the Pennsylvania State Police.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel S. Dalke prosecuted the case.

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Updated March 3, 2023