|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JANUARY 8, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two Loudon County men have been charged with TennCare fraud in Blount County for trying to fill fraudulent prescriptions and using TennCare to pay for them.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), along with the Loudon, Knox and Blount County Sheriff’s Office today announce the arrest of 21-year old Robert L. Smith, and Jonathan Smallen, 21, both from Lenoir City.
Smallen was charged with three counts of TennCare fraud, three counts of identity theft, one count of obtaining a schedule III drug by fraud, and two counts of obtaining a schedule II drug by fraud. Smith was charged with one count of TennCare fraud one count of obtaining a schedule II drug by fraud and one count of identity theft. The charges against both Smallen and Smith allege they presented forged prescriptions for the painkillers Hydrocodone and Oxycodone.
“This is a great example of a pharmacy that was alert to the tactics some people will use to obtain prescription painkillers,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Tennessee pharmacies are getting more and more tuned in to the aspects of TennCare fraud, and we depend on them to help us identify these cases so we can prosecute them.”
If convicted, both Smallen and Smith could be sentenced up to two years on the TennCare fraud charge, a Class E felony the drug charges are a Class D felony and they could each serve up to four years. District Attorney General Mike Flynn will be prosecuting these cases.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.6 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $159 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures.
Through the OIG Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature, Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. "Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or log on to www.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."