|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 5, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN - A Shelby County woman has been arrested for TennCare fraud, with charges alleging she used her daughter’s TennCare benefits to obtain prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Sherreata Rippy, also known as Sherreata Perry, age 36, of Memphis.
An arrest warrant accuses Rippy with twice presenting forged prescriptions at a pharmacy for the painkiller Lortab and Amoxicillin, an antibiotic. Both drugs were written for her daughter, and TennCare benefits were used to pay for the forged prescriptions. Rippy has been charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of Identity Theft.
“It is particularly troubling when someone who is not eligible for TennCare tries to find a way to use another person’s TennCare benefits, especially a child’s benefits,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Prescription forgery is also clearly a crime, and we will pursue charges in these kinds of cases.”
Identity theft is a Class D felony that carries a maximum of four years in prison. Fraudulently obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. District Attorney Amy T. Weirich will prosecute.
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 1,600 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."