|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, APRIL 27, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Two Carter County women are charged in nearby Johnson County for trading drugs paid for by TennCare for home-brewed crystal methamphetamine. The drugs are used to make the meth.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Colleen Stevens, 31, and Kelly Tester, 22, both of Elizabethton. The case came to the OIG from the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office, which initially made the bust on the meth lab.
Stevens is charged with three counts of TennCare fraud for diverting Claritin-D, an antihistamine paid for by TennCare, in exchange for the methamphetamine. She is currently being held in the Johnson County Jail on unrelated charges, where she was served with the indictment.
Tester has been indicted on three counts of TennCare fraud for obtaining Stevens’ prescription for Claritin-D, which was paid for by TennCare, in exchange for the manufacture of crystal methamphetamine. Tester is currently being held in the Watauga County, North Carolina, jail on unrelated charges, where she was served with the indictment.
The TennCare fraud charges against the two could result in a two year sentence per charge if convicted. District Attorney General Anthony Clark is prosecuting.
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."