|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 8, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN - A Rutherford County man has pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud, after he was captured a month after going on the run from authorities.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), along with Rutherford County Sheriff’s officers, today announced the arrest of Joshua S. Mitchell, 23, of Smyrna. He pleaded guilty to one count of TennCare fraud and one count of sale of a Schedule III controlled substance, and has been sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay fines and costs of $4,031.59. Mitchell also cannot apply for or use TennCare medical benefits in the future.
Mitchell failed to appear for two December court dates in Rutherford County, which prompted an arrest warrant for failure to appear. He was initially arrested in November of last year, when he was charged with TennCare fraud for using TennCare to obtain a prescription for Lithium, which is used to treat people with bipolar or manic-depressive disorder. Police say he later sold a portion of the drug. The Smyrna Police and Narcotics Division assisted with the investigation. District Attorney General William C. Whitesell, Jr. prosecuted this case.
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."