|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, MAY 10, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Rutherford County woman is charged with unlawful use of another person’s identity in order to have prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Sarah T. Thomason, 23, of Murfreesboro. Thomason’s arrest was assisted by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.
Thomason’s indictment in Rutherford County charges her with 22 counts of TennCare fraud, 22 counts of theft of identity and 17 counts of prescription fraud. Thomason is accused of using the personal identifying information of a TennCare enrollee to obtain medical services and was able to obtain the painkiller Hydrocodone by using the person’s TennCare benefits.
“Whether they’re using the medications themselves or selling them on the streets, obtaining drugs by using TennCare benefits a person is not entitled to will not be tolerated in Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We are working across the state to stop this activity in TennCare.”
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 both are Class D felonies that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General William Whitesell, Jr. 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."