|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, MAY 4, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE - A woman from Blount County is charged with TennCare fraud involving prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Stephanie Paul, also known as Stephanie Nelson, 23, of Maryville. The arrest was the result of a joint investigation with the 5th Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, and the Maryville Police Department.
Paul is charged with one count of maintaining a dwelling where a controlled substance is used or sold, one count of sale or delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance, one count of sale or delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance, and one count of TennCare fraud. The drugs involved are the painkillers Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.
“Prescription drug abuse is a concern of communities large and small across Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “With the help of local police like the officers in Blount County, we are sending a message that abusing TennCare will have serious repercussions.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison, and the sale of a controlled substance is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison. District Attorney General Mike Flynn 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."