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Press Release

Pittsburgh Woman Pleads Guilty to Fraudulently Obtaining More than 60K Tramadol Pills, Health Care Fraud

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

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of obtaining controlled substances through fraud and health care fraud, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Heather Summerfield, 39, pleaded guilty to two counts before United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Summerfield, following back surgery in 2009, began to use Tramadol, a Schedule IV controlled substance, and became addicted. She obtained fraudulent prescriptions for Tramadol using a number of fraudulent means. She phoned in unauthorized prescriptions to pharmacies falsely posing as a receptionist from her doctor’s office. She also called in unauthorized prescriptions posing as receptionists for doctors that she found online. Summerfield used at least four doctors’ names to receive Tramadol prescriptions, all without their authorization. She also called in the prescriptions using at least 11 fictitious patient names and addresses. Evidence collected indicates that she fraudulently obtained more than 60,000 Tramadol pills.

To the extent that she got prescriptions in fictitious names, she paid for those prescriptions in cash. To the extent that she acquired them in her own name, her health care insurers paid some portion of some of the bills.

Judge Hornak scheduled sentencing for October 3, 2019. The law provides for a total sentence of fourteen years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Summerfield.

Updated June 20, 2019

Health Care Fraud