|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Davidson County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for filling a fraudulent prescription and using TennCare to pay for it.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), along with the Smyrna Police Department and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Ingrid W. Hinkle, 26, of Smyrna. She is charged with one count of TennCare fraud, one count of identity theft, and one count of obtaining possession of a controlled substance by fraud. The charges against Hinkle say that she presented a forged prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone bearing the name and DEA number of a doctor, which she was unauthorized to use.
“With the cooperation of local law enforcement agencies and medical providers, we are able to aggressively prosecute people who commit TennCare fraud,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Healthcare providers are especially eager to help us clamp down on drug fraud.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and identity theft both are Class D felonies that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison. District Attorney General William C. Whitesell, Jr. is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,300 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
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.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."