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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 21, 2020

Former Medical Practice Office Manager Pleads Guilty To Stealing Controlled Substances

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Kristy Brucz, 34, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that between 2015 and March 28, 2018, the defendant was an employee and office manager for a Williamsville physician. In that position, Brucz was given access to the physician’s prescription pad and a New York State issued controlled substance electronic prescribing hard token (prescribing token) and its related passwords, which allowed the defendant to issue prescriptions, and submit them to pharmacies, on the physician’s behalf.

Between 2015 and March 2018, Brucz, without the physician’s authorization, issued, or caused to be issued, 166 fraudulent prescriptions using the physician’s name, the physician’s prescription pad, and prescribing token. The prescriptions were issued in either Brucz’s name, the names of associates, or fictitious individuals. The defendant then filled the prescriptions, totaling approximately 11,885 dosage units, from various local pharmacies, and diverted them for her personal use. The controlled substances included hydrocodone and oxycodone.

The defendant’s scheme was discovered in March of 2018, as Brucz attempted to fill a prescription at Rite Aid Pharmacy.  The pharmacist questioned the legitimacy of the prescription and contacted the physician for whom defendant worked. That inquiry ultimately led to the discovery of defendant’s fraud and led to her being fired from her position.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 19, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Wolford.  

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Topic(s): 
Opioids
Prescription Drugs
Health Care Fraud
Updated May 21, 2020