Dubuque Veterinarian Pleads Guilty in Fake Dog Prescription Scheme
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Wrote Phony Tramadol Prescriptions for Approximately Two Years
A licensed Iowa veterinarian who wrote Tramadol prescriptions for fake dogs in order to obtain the controlled substance at local pharmacies pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids. Kristi Michelle Schreiber, age 42, from Dubuque, Iowa, was convicted of one count of acquiring a controlled substance by means of misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge.
At the plea hearing and in a plea agreement, Schreiber admitted she is a licensed veterinarian in the State of Iowa and practices as an associate veterinarian at a pet clinic in Dubuque. From no later than February 2019 through at least February 2021, Schreiber wrote false and fraudulent prescriptions for Tramadol for dogs that did not exist or were not necessary. Tramadol is a Schedule IV controlled substance. Tramadol is a centrally acting opioid analgesic used to treat moderate pain. According to the American Kennel Club, Tramadol is a medication that veterinarians commonly prescribe to manage pain in dogs, and it is one of the few human painkillers that is safe to administer to dogs.
In March 2021, a pharmacy chain in Dubuque reported Schreiber’s diversion of tramadol to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Drug Control Division. The DEA conducted an inspection of the pet clinic at which Schreiber works and requested the files for some of dogs for which Schreiber had written prescriptions, but Schreiber could not produce all the files. Schreiber falsely told the DEA that some of the dogs were animals of “close friends” and also that she would “pick [the prescriptions] up for friends and family because I want to make sure the dog gets it.” Schreiber later admitted she took all the Tramadol herself. The investigation revealed that, between March 10, 2019, and March 9, 2021, Schreiber issued a total of 266 prescriptions for animals that purportedly were under her care. Of these 266 prescriptions, 186 (or approximately 70%) were for Tramadol HCL 50mg tablets.
Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Schreiber was released on bond pending sentencing. Schreiber faces a possible maximum sentence of four years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and one year of supervised release following any imprisonment.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy L. Vavricek and was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Drug Control Division.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file number is 22-CR-1012.
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Updated April 18, 2022