|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, APRIL 5, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
OVERTON COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Overton County man has pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud and theft of services.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that Michael R. Akers, 40, of Livingston, pleaded guilty to five counts of felony TennCare fraud and one count of theft of services.
Akers was sentences to three years in state custody, suspended to three years probation. In the meantime, he must repay TennCare over $3,800 in restitution. Akers was one of 22 TennCare enrollees arrested – 50 people altogether - in October 2007 in an investigation of Clark’s Pharmacy in Livingston. Pharmacist Malcolm D. Clark was also charged in the investigation. In February, he pleaded guilty to one count of selling the painkiller Oxycodone within a drug-free school zone, one count of fraudulently obtaining a similar drug, dihydrocodeinone, one count of TennCare fraud, one count of theft of property over $10,000, and two counts of unlawfully dispensing the strong pain killer morphine. Clark was ordered to pay almost a quarter of a million dollars to the Overton County Sheriff’s Department, over $97,000 in restitution to TennCare, and $39,000 to Overton County. All of Clark’s firearms and ammunition were seized in a raid on the pharmacy and his home, and he was ordered to “retire” his Tennessee pharmacy license and forfeit the building he owned to the Overton County Sheriff’s Department. Clark was sentenced to 10 years of supervised probation.
"We are going to continue to work hard to place charges against anyone we find misusing the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “People should get the message that the OIG is going after TennCare fraud with a full court press."
District Attorney General Randy York prosecuted these cases. Overton County Detective Greg Etheredge, lead investigator, brought these cases to the OIG’s attention.
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."