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Burlington woman pleads guilty to fraudulently obtaining more than 8,000 hydrocodone pills

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Heather Smith Elliott

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Burlington woman pleaded guilty to controlled substance offenses and other crimes, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Heather Smith Elliott, 41, pleaded guilty Oct. 4 to charges in relation to a scheme to fraudulently obtain over 8,000 10-325 mg hydrocodone pills from CVS pharmacies in Alamance and Guilford counties through use of forged and fraudulent prescriptions appearing to be issued by a Duke University Medical Center neurosurgeon, the release said.

Elliott pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining hydrocodone pills, a schedule II controlled substance, by use of forged and fraudulent prescriptions, one count of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Documents filed with the court show that Elliott forged and counterfeited approximately 132 prescriptions for hydrocodone. Each of these forged and counterfeit prescriptions bore the name and DEA number of a neurosurgeon at Duke University Medical Center in Durham.

Elliott made use of altered actual Duke University Medical Center prescription forms to create fraudulent prescriptions for hydrocodone appearing to be issued by the Duke neurosurgeon for herself, as well as for friends and family members of Elliott including an ex-boyfriend, a former employee, her former husband, her son and a neighbor, according to the release.

Neither Elliott nor any of these persons were patients of the Duke neurosurgeon, nor had he prescribed any medications to them. Elliott retained and converted the hydrocodone pills to her own use and purpose. Elliott also made use of a fraudulently obtained Bank of America credit card in the name of her former boyfriend to pay for at least one of the false prescriptions.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2018, in Greensboro.

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