FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Morristown man is charged for the second time with TennCare fraud related to selling prescription drugs paid for by the TennCare program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Jason M. Smith, 27. This and his previous arrest were the result of a joint effort with the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office. Smith is charged with one count of TennCare fraud for using TennCare to pay for a prescription of Suboxone, and later apparently selling a portion of the drugs. Suboxone is an opiate used to treat people with heroin addiction. Smith is currently being held in the Hamblen County Jail on related charges where he was served with the TennCare fraud charge.
Smith was first arrested by the OIG on November 20 of last year, when he was charged for committing the same crime.
“It does not matter how many times an individual tries to commit the crime of TennCare fraud – law enforcement is going to be on their heels ready to arrest and prosecute them,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “The Office of Inspector General is intent on prosecuting every one of these cases to the fullest extent possible.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General C. Berkeley Bell is prosecuting these cases in court.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,700 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."