|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, MAY 11, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Maury County woman has been sentenced in Williamson County after pleading guilty to TennCare fraud.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that Kathy L. Potts, 45, pleaded guilty to one felony count of TennCare fraud and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The charges against Potts accused her of using a forged prescription to obtain the painkiller hydrocodone and using TennCare to pay for the prescription. It marked the third TennCare fraud arrest for Potts; she was also accused of committing the same offenses in both Maury and Lewis Counties. She was convicted of TennCare fraud in Maury County on March 24 and the charges in Lewis County are still pending.
Potts pleaded guilty to both Williamson County charges. The court sentenced her to three years, which was suspended to supervised probation. She was also ordered to be removed from TennCare and will no longer be eligible for the program. Potts was assessed a court fine of $1,500 to be paid to the Office of Inspector General. District Attorney General Kim Helper prosecuted this case.
"Our target is anyone abusing or misusing TennCare healthcare insurance benefits,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re sending a message that we are pursuing TennCare fraud charges of ALL types, and local police and providers have joined with us to target this crime.”
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.6 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $165 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 920 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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."