|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Sumner County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by the public healthcare insurance program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Hazel V. Colbert, 52, of Portland. Colbert was arrested after a joint investigation with the 18th Judicial District Drug Task Force and the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office.
An arrest warrant charges Colbert with filling a prescription for sixty tablets of Morphine at a Portland pharmacy, using TennCare to pay for the prescription, then selling a portion of her drugs.
“Tennesseans from all walks – police, providers and citizens – are committed to eliminating prescription drug abuse, especially in the TennCare program, “Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Every time we build a case for prosecution, we’re conserving tax dollars and helping to preserve this program.”
If convicted, the TennCare fraud charge against Colbert could result in a two-year sentence. District Attorney General Lawrence R. Whitley 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 1,380 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."