|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 22, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – Two Mid-State women are sentenced after pleading guilty to TennCare fraud involving prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that Belinda F. McCluskey, 39, of Taft, and Lucy C. Crews, 46, of Elkton, have pleaded guilty to felony TennCare fraud and sale of a controlled substance. The women were arrested last year during an undercover investigation that also involved Giles County Sheriff’s officers.
McCluskey pleaded guilty to three counts of TennCare fraud, three counts of sale of a controlled substance related to the painkiller Hydrocodone, and two counts of sale of a controlled substance related to the anti-anxiety medication Alprazolam. McCluskey was sentenced to six years of probation and fined $8,000.
Crews pleaded guilty to two counts of TennCare fraud, two counts of sale of a controlled substance involving the painkiller Hydrocodone, one count of sale of a controlled substance in a school zone, and one count of sale of a controlled substance involving Alprazolam. Crews was sentenced to six years of probation and fined $10,000.
"We are working hard to seek charges against anyone we find misusing TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “People are getting the message that the OIG is going after TennCare fraud with a full court approach."
District Attorney General Mike Bottoms prosecuted these cases.
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."