FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Rutherford County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for using the public healthcare insurance program to obtain prescription drugs, which she later apparently sold.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of narcotics officers with Smyrna Police and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department, today announced the arrest of Tabitha Pendergrast also known as Tabitha Nagy, 20, of Murfreesboro.
Nagy was indicted on one count of TennCare fraud for presenting a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare to pay for the prescription while planning to sell the drugs.
“Trying to sell prescription drugs to other people is a crime, and even moreso when public funding is involved,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Prescription painkillers are highly addictive, and that kind of addiction can literally destroy a person’s life.”
The TennCare fraud charges against Nagy could result in a two year sentence per charge, if convicted. District Attorney William C. Whitesell, Jr. 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 1,700 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."