|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 13, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Three people in Clay County are charged with TennCare drug fraud, after a round-up that also included the arrest of 27 others, all charged with selling prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrests, which were the result of an undercover investigation conducted by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Task Force. The investigation culminated in a drug round-up that involved the OIG along with TBI, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Celina Police Department, Tennessee Department of Revenue, 15th Judicial District Drug Task Force, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and District Attorney General Randy York.
The TennCare fraud charges in Clay County all involve people trying to sell prescription drugs paid for by TennCare to an undercover informant. Most charges involve selling the painkillers morphine and hydrocodone, both of which are Schedule II and Schedule III narcotics.
“The local police officers involved from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and the Celina Police Department were key to building these cases and helping us make these arrests,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Local police are major players in our statewide effort, and they’re helping us put some muscle in the war against TennCare fraud.”
The three people charged with TennCare fraud are:
District Attorney General Randy York will prosecute these cases. If convicted all could face one to six years in prison.
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."