FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – Two mid-state residents are charged with TennCare fraud in separate cases out of McNairy County, both involving prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrests of Stella R. Conner, 50, of Savannah and 47-year old Linda Elizabeth Cozart of Ramer. The arrests are the result of an undercover investigation with the McNairy County Sheriff’s Office and the Selmer Police Department.
Conner is charged with one count of TennCare fraud for obtaining the painkiller Hydrocodone, which was paid for with TennCare benefits, while planning to sell a portion of the prescription.
Cozart is charged with TennCare fraud in similar allegations – using TennCare to obtain a prescription for the painkiller Oxycodone, while planning to sell a portion of the prescription.
“No matter what the case is, people who are committing TennCare fraud – especially involving prescription drugs – are going to get caught, arrested and prosecuted at some point,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We are working prescription drug cases involving TennCare in almost every county.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General D. Michael Dunavant will prosecute both cases.
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."