|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, MAY 10, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Residents of Hamilton and Warren County are charged in separate cases with TennCare fraud involving prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Brandy N. Houston, 27, of Chattanooga, and Julie Louise Trammell, 51, of McMinnville. Houston’s arrest was assisted by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office assisted with Trammel’s arrest.
Julie Louise Trammell is indicted on one count of TennCare fraud and two counts of delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance. Trammell is accused of using TennCare to obtain a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone and on two separate occasions sold a portion to an undercover police informant.
Brandy N. Houston has been charged with one count of TennCare fraud, one count of identity theft and one count of obtaining a drug by fraud. Houston is accused of presenting a forged prescription for the painkiller Lortab and using the name and DEA number of her physician in order to obtain the drugs.
"Our mission is to protect the TennCare program by stopping fraud and abuse, especially in the area of prescription drugs," Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Local law enforcement officers have been incredibly helpful to the OIG in assisting us with our mission.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and identity theft are Class D felonies punishable by up to four years in prison. District Attorney General William H. Cox will prosecute the Hamilton County Case. District Attorney General Lisa S. Zavogiannis will be prosecuting the Warren County Case.
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."