|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 16, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN - Two Coffee County women are charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for with TennCare benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the arrest of Monica LeeAnn Dodson, 25, and Melissa Shannon Coker, 41, both of Tullahoma, after a joint investigation with the Tullahoma Police Department.
Both women are each charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of sale of a controlled substance. The charges say they each used TennCare benefits to obtain a prescription for the pain reliever Hydrocodone, concealing that they planned to unlawfully sell a portion of the prescription.
“The bottom line is that we are out to end this activity in TennCare, and will pursue charges in any case where TennCare is used to finance drugs that are being sold to others,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said.
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. District Attorney General C. Michael Layne is prosecuting.
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."