|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, MAY 6, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE - A Hamilton County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for altering a prescription for pain medication and attempting to have TennCare pay for it.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Catherine E. Burden, 33, of Chattanooga. She is charged in a Hamilton County indictment with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of attempting to obtain possession of a controlled substance by fraud. The charge against Burden stems from the allegation that Burden knowingly altered a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone by increasing the quantity and attempted to use TennCare benefits to pay for the drug.
“This is a great example of a pharmacy that was alert to the tactics some people will use to obtain prescription painkillers,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Tennessee pharmacies are getting more and more tuned in to the aspects of TennCare fraud, and we depend on them to help us identify these cases so we can prosecute them.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison. District Attorney General William H. Cox, III 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."