|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 19, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – An Anderson County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for using TennCare benefits to pay for what officials say was a fraudulent prescription.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Anderson County Sheriff, today announced the arrest of Sylvia R. Wills Sharp, 21, of Clinton.
Sharp has been charged with three counts of TennCare fraud for allegedly using TennCare benefits to obtain prescription drugs by means of concealment of material facts and false statements. The drugs involved were the painkiller Oxycodone and Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication. Sharp is currently being held in the Anderson County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bond.
"We are working with local police and medical providers to help us stop TennCare fraud," Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. "The Office of Inspector General is committed to eliminating the incidence of people fraudulently obtaining drugs and letting TennCare pick up the tab."
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General David Clark 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 1,600 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."