HARRISBURG, Pa. (TCD) — A 48-year-old woman was recently sentenced to just over two years in prison for forcing her 5-year-old adopted daughter to fake illnesses.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, on Feb. 4, 2020, Shelly Noreika “made false statements concerning her 5-year-old daughter to medical providers.”
Noreika reportedly admitted that she “told her daughter to pretend having a seizure while Noreika videotaped her.”
The Attorney’s Office said Noreika emailed the footage to the child’s pediatric neurologist and told doctors her daughter suffered from seizures even though Noreika’s daughter never had a real seizure.
Noreika reportedly “misled medical providers concerning the health and condition of her daughter knowing they would rely on her false statements in their diagnosis and treatment decisions.”
The Attorney’s Office said the child underwent unnecessary medical procedures, and insurers lost six figures’ worth of money.
Even though Noreika’s actions were consistent with Munchausen syndrome by proxy, the Attorney’s Office said Noreika’s motive was financial in nature because she “received enhanced Medicare and adoption subsidiaries for taking care of a medically ill child,” and she “promoted the minor child’s purported conditions to seek donations from local organizations and through online fundraising efforts.”
In June 2022, Noreika pleaded guilty, and on March 3, the Attorney’s Office said she was sentenced to 30 months in prison for making false statements relating to health care matters. Noreika will also have to serve three years of supervised release and pay a fine of $500 and $137,710.86 in restitution.
The Attorney’s Office said Noreika no longer has custody of the child, and state charges against her are pending.
In a statement, Special Agent in Charge Maureen R. Dixon of the Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Philadelphia Regional Office said, “Today’s sentencing sends a strong message that protecting children is a top priority.”
Dixon continued, “HHS-OIG will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse against children and ensure claims submitted to federal and state programs by caregivers are truthful and accurate. We would like to thank the Pennsylvania State Police and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their partnership and commitment in this investigation.”
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