|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two Coffee County residents have pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud after they were arrested in a Coffee County round-up that occurred in June of last year.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the convictions of Kelly Cunningham, 33, and Jason Jones, 27, both of Manchester. Their arrests were the result of a joint investigation with the Manchester Police and the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department.
Cunningham was charged with seven counts of “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors in a 30-day period with the intent of securing prescriptions for painkillers or other controlled substances, including Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Codeine. Cunningham pleaded guilty to all seven counts and was sentenced to two years in the Coffee County Jail with two years of probation.
Jones pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and was sentenced to one year in jail with three years probation. Jones was arrested after forging a prescription for the painkiller Percocet and selling a portion to an undercover agent.
“We’re not going to tolerate TennCare fraud, especially when people are subsidizing illegal narcotics trafficking with taxpayer funds,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We are committed to winning the war against TennCare fraud.”
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."