|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 4, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – Two Memphis women are charged with TennCare fraud in separate cases in Shelby County, both involving people accused of altering prescriptions written by a doctor.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 32-year old Trekima N. Barnes and 31-year old Idetrice James, both from Memphis. They are both accused of trying to use TennCare benefits to pay for fraudulent prescriptions.
Barnes is charged with one count of TennCare fraud, with an arrest warrant saying she altered a legitimate prescription for Phenergan Codeine, normally prescribed for extreme upper respiratory infections. The original prescription was for three ounces of the drug, but it was altered for eight (8) ounces before it was given to a pharmacy.
In the other case, Idetrice James is charged with one count of TennCare fraud, also for trying to use TennCare to pay for an altered prescription for the same drug. Her original prescription was for two (2) ounces, but it had been changed to three (3) ounces.
“This type of criminal activity will never be tolerated by the State of Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “The Office of Inspector General will continue to sort out the TennCare enrollees who seek to support their lifestyle by committing fraud against the TennCare program.”
If convicted, the TennCare fraud charge against both Barnes and James could result in a two-year sentence. District Attorney General Amy T. Weirich 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 1,600 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."