|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, APRIL 5, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Macon County man is charged in Smith County with TennCare fraud in connection with prescription drugs paid for by TennCare public healthcare insurance benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) along with the Smith County Sheriff today announced the arrest of David Bowles, 41 of Lafayette. He is accused in an indictment out of Smith County of fraudulently obtaining TennCare medical benefits while planning to sell or otherwise distribute prescription drugs he received in the process.
Bowles and his wife Ethel were charged with TennCare fraud in December of last year, less than six months ago. The couple was accused of using TennCare benefits to obtain a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone while planning to sell a portion of each of their prescriptions.
“The time is long gone when people could use and abuse TennCare in this manner, no matter how ‘slick’ they are,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Especially when someone is charged once with TennCare fraud, they’re on the radar of the OIG, local police, pharmacies and other providers who are are all working together in the war against TennCare fraud.”
The TennCare fraud charge against Bowles could result in a two year sentence, if convicted. District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson 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 1,400 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."