|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
KNOX COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Knox County woman has been arrested for using TennCare to pay for forged prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Kristy R. Key, 25, of Knoxville. Key’s arrest was assisted by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the Knoxville Police Department.
A three-count indictment in Knox County accuses Key of altering a legitimate prescription by adding to the prescription an order for percocet, an addictive painkiller, using TennCare to pay for the prescription.
“Prescription drug fraud takes many forms, and altering the prescription to add narcotics is one of those methods that pharmacists should keep a watchful eye for,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re thankful pharmacists are catching this and following up when they have questions.”
Key faces one count of TennCare fraud and two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison, and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Randall Nichols 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 1,100 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."