|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
HAMILTON COUNTY COUPLE CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A husband and wife in Hamilton County are charged with TennCare fraud for using another person’s TennCare benefits to pay for fraudulent prescriptions.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Danny Lewis, 40 and Mary Jo Lewis, 41, who is also known as Mary Jo Hale, Mary Jo Lyda, or Mary Jo Peterson. They’re both from Chattanooga.
Both Danny and Mary Jo have been charged with one count of TennCare fraud. They are accused of presenting forged prescriptions for the painkiller hydrocodone, along with xanax – which is an anti-anxiety medication - and atenolol, a drug prescribed for hypertension. The drugs were written for another person, who has TennCare benefits.
The TennCare fraud charge against both could result in a two year sentence, if convicted. District Attorney General William H. Cox is prosecuting.
“We hope everyone is getting the message that we are serious about pursuing TennCare fraud, especially when members of a family are conspiring to get prescription drugs illegally,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said.
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."