9 face charges in York County for statewide prescription drug ring

Russel Morris

The state Attorney General's Office has filed charges against nine individuals, mostly from Philadelphia, alleging they were involved in a fraudulent prescription drug ring that operated in several counties, including York, for almost a year.

The AG's office filed charges in York County against Tracie Peurifoy, 37; Latoya Peurifoy, 41; Christian Eleby-Lackey, 30; Shane Harris, 24; Dashonna Hoskins, 22; Russel Morris, 32; Troy Thomas, 28; Sharee Hall, 33; and Lueveater Smith, 36, on Monday, May 14.

Tracie Peurifoy, Latoya Peurifoy, Eleby-Lackey, Hoskins, Thomas, and Smith, are all from Philadelphia, according to online court records.

Harris and Morris are from Montgomery County, and Hall is from Delaware County, those records state. 

Officials said the group went to various pharmacies throughout the state and presented fraudulent prescriptions, which Tracie Peurifoy created in her Philadelphia home. The prescriptions were typically written for 120 tablets of oxycodone, 60 tablets of Alprazolam, and various amounts of Flexeril tablets, according to court documents.

Officials said Tracie Peurifoy directed them to pharmacies and gave them rental cars to travel to the pharmacies. 

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Fraudulent prescriptions: On June 28, 2017, Tracie Peruifoy and Morris presented two fraudulent prescriptions at a CVS Pharmacy in the 500 block of Old York Road in Fairview Township, according to court documents.

The prescriptions appeared to be written by a Luzerne County physician, who later called authorities and told them the drug orders were fraudulent, and that he did not have a patient by the name used on the prescriptions, the AG's office said.

Morris returned to the pharmacy on July 2, after an AG's office official warned the staff about any future prescriptions that were similar to the ones presented on June 28, officials said.

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The pharmacist refused to fill Morris' fraudulent prescription, which was written by a Allegheny County physician, according to court documents. Officials say one of the pharmacists photocopied the fraudulent prescriptions.

Morris was able to successfully get the fake prescription filled in a Middletown, Dauphin County, CVS, court documents state. Nearby surveillance footage showed Morris leaving the area in a car that was rented by Tracie Peurifoy, according to the AG's office.

Because the June 28 incident was deemed to be not an isolated event, the AG's office began to investigate other suspicious prescriptions under the names of the two doctors used, leading officials to identify the others who were involved, court documents state.

York County: The AG's office said authorities discovered that on June 29, 2017, Tracie Peurifoy and Eleby-Lackey went to the Rite Aid at 577 S. Main St. in Shrewsbury. Morris was waiting by a car while the two had their prescriptions filled, according to officials.

On that same day, Tracie Peurifoy and Morris went to the Rite Aid at 4 Ballast Lane in Stewartstown, where they once again had fraudulent prescriptions filled, court documents allege.

Morris also had a fraudulent prescription filled at the Rite Aid at 3205 Cape Horn Road in Red Lion on July 13, officials said. That same day, Morris entered a pharmacy in Stewartstown, where he had three fraudulent prescriptions filled, according to charging documents. 

On July 15, 2017, Morris went to the CVS Pharmacy at 723 Lombard Road, Red Lion, and had one fraudulent prescription filled, the AG's office said. 

On Aug. 5, Morris went to a Northampton County Rite Aid for the second time in about two weeks, and he allegedly tried to have two fraudulent prescriptions filled. The pharmacist, suspecting the prescriptions were fraudulent, contacted the Southern Regional Police Department, charging documents state.

In addition to the incidents in York County, the AG's office said fraudulent prescriptions were filled, or the defendants attempted to fill them, in Cumberland, Dauphin, Berks, Wayne, Pike, Lackawanna, Somerset, Cambria, Centre, Lebanon and Allegheny counties.

Morris: Morris was taken into custody and told authorities he had been in a car crash that caused back injuries, charging documents state. The AG's office said Morris admitted he was leaving a therapist's office one day in Philadelphia, when he was approached by a man who told him he could give Morris stronger medication and offered to purchase all of Morris' drugs, court documents state.

Morris, who was unemployed and wanted to make money, decided to have fraudulent prescriptions filled, and he was paid $150 for each prescription filled — and $200 if he accompanied others to fill fraudulent prescriptions, according to the AG's office.

During the course of his involvement, he met at least 10 others involved in filling the fake prescriptions, officials said.

While Morris was in York County Prison, officials obtained recordings of calls in which Eleby-Lackey, Morris' girlfriend, told Morris that Tracie Peurifoy would provide money for Morris' defense, and that Tracie Peurifoy's phone was left in Morris' rental car when he was arrested, according to charging documents. 

In February, authorities learned that Tracie Peuifoy was the coordinator of the ring, and that all fraudulently obtained pills were delivered to her, according to court documents.

The 10 people allegedly involved face various different charges, including corrupt organizations and violations of the Pharmacy Act, among others. Court records indicate that none of them except Morris had been arraigned on the charges as of Monday.

Morris is the only one of the suspected ring in custody, according to online court records. He remains in York County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bail.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.