Officer accused of pill fraud

Investigators say a Tarpon officer fraudulently obtained 600 prescription pain pills.

By EILEEN SCHULTE, Times Staff Writer
Published February 8, 2008

A Tarpon Springs police officer was arrested Thursday and charged with prescription fraud.

Susan Gorman, 28, received eight prescriptions from five different doctors for hydrocodone and oxycodone between April and August 2007, investigators said.

In all, Gorman fraudulently obtained 600 pills, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

She was booked into the Pinellas County Jail and released after posting $5,000 bail.

Tarpon Springs police asked the FDLE to look into Gorman's activities in August 2007 after a local physician called to report his suspicions, said Tarpon Springs police spokeswoman Barbara Templeton.

The department put Gorman on administrative leave with pay Aug. 24. After conferring with the FDLE, her status was changed to leave without pay Nov. 19. She had been making $45,026 per year.

Tarpon Springs police have launched their own internal inquiry.

Reached at her Tarpon Springs home Thursday, Gorman declined to comment.

Records show Gorman was born in Massachusetts. She joined the Tarpon Springs force in July 2003, according to Templeton. Among her duties was responding to incoming calls and handling DUI arrests.

Before her arrest, the only blemish on her record was a minor car crash. Records show she bumped her patrol vehicle into a pole on the Pinellas Trail in 2004 while responding to a report of a drunken pedestrian. Her superiors gave her a written reprimand.

FDLE spokeswoman Trena Reddick said Gorman was believed to have used the pain medication for personal use, not to sell.

"There were legitimate health concerns," Reddick said.

She would not say what the health concerns were.

FDLE records show Gorman underwent surgery in July 2007 but the nature of the operation is unclear.

According to arrest records, Gorman withheld information from doctors in Clearwater, Tarpon Springs and Palm Harbor.

She received multiple prescriptions within a 30-day period, investigators said.

In one instance, she received 72 hydrocodone pills from one doctor within 48 hours because of a miscommunication among staff at the doctor's office.

Prescription fraud is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Eileen Schulte can be reached at schulte@sptimes.com or 727 445-4153.