The current heroin epidemic has developed mainly through the abuse of prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycontin. As a result, law enforcement agencies throughout Pennsylvania are cracking down on prescription drug abuse and fraud.

Whether you’re under investigation, or have already been charged with prescription fraud, you should make immediate arrangements to secure the services of a qualified criminal defense attorney with experience handling prescription drug fraud cases.

Under Investigation for Prescription Fraud? Don’t talk yourself into a prison sentence.

If you are suspected of committing prescription fraud and police or your employer want to interview you, stop and call a criminal defense attorney right away. You DO NOT want to provide any statements without thoroughly discussing this matter with an attorney. Statements you make to your employer or police will be used to prosecute you for these offenses. You cannot handle this alone and need to retain legal counsel quickly. A criminal defense attorney can assist you before charges are filed. The Zuckerman Law Firm provides pre-complaint/pre-indictment services to clients facing prescription fraud investigations throughout Western PA.

Acquisition of a Controlled Substance by Fraud or Misrepresentation Defined

Prescription fraud is legally referred to as Acquisition of a Controlled Substance by Misrepresentation under Title 35 Pa.C.S. 780-113(a)(12) of the Controlled Substances Act. Section (a)(12) prohibits “the acquisition or obtaining of possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge.”

How much time am I facing for Acquisition of a Controlled Substance by Fraud or Misrepresentation?

The offense of Acquisition of a Controlled Substance by Misrepresentation is an ungraded felony offense that carries a maximum sentence of up to 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Although maximum sentences are unlikely, the amount of potential jail time a person faces in their sentencing guidelines is often dictated by the drug Schedule or category and the number of pills or grams of drugs obtained. Offense gravity scores in Pennsylvania range from 1 to 14, with higher scores carrying more severe sentencing ranges than lower scores. As an example, a person with no prior criminal record an OGS of 13 faces a guideline range sentence of with a minimum sentence ranging from 60-78 months (5-6.5 years).

It does not take a large quantity of prescription pills to trigger high offense gravity scores. Here are examples of drug classifications and quantities, and their corresponding offense gravity scores:

  • Schedule I or II - more than 1000 pills: OGS of 13

  • Schedule I or II - 100 to 1000 pills: OGS of 11

  • Schedule I or II - 50 to 100 pills: OGS of 10

  • Schedule I or II - 10 to 50 pills: OGS of 8

  • Schedule I or II - 1 to 10 pills: OGS of 7

  • Acquisition of any amount of Schedule III, IV or V: OGS of 5

A realistic assessment of your potential penalties should be made by your criminal defense attorney after a review of your case.

What facts or evidence have led me to be charged with Prescription Fraud?

As a former drug crimes prosecutor, Attorney Zuckerman has prosecuted and defended those charged with prescription fraud under the following circumstances:

  • A person edits an original prescription from their doctor and submits it to the pharmacy for processing (i.e. a person edits a legitimate prescription they received for allergy medication to that of oxycodone, and attempts to have it filled);

  • A person goes to pick up a prescription for a friend or family member, not knowing that the prescription was forged or otherwise fraudulent;

  • A person goes to pick up prescription painkillers for a friend or family member, who agrees to split the pills with them;

  • A physician, physician assistant, nurse, or other employee in the medical field steals blank prescription pads, forges them, and submits them to their pharmacy for processing;

  • An employee in the medical field physically steals medication from a patient, hospital or pharmacy;

Can I be facing other charges as well?

Yes. If you’re charged with Acquisition of a Controlled Substance by Fraud, you may be charged with additional offenses.


Our office represents those charged with prescription fraud in state courts throughout Western PA. If you are charged with, or are under investigation for prescription fraud, contact the Zuckerman Law Firm at 412-447-5580 for a free consultation.