|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 18, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Lawrence County man is charged in Giles County with TennCare fraud. He is accused of selling prescription drugs that were obtained by using TennCare benefits.
Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Mitchell Looney, 30, of Lawrenceburg, who was indicted on one count of TennCare fraud.
The charge accuses Looney of obtaining a prescription of the painkiller Hydrocodone, which was paid for by TennCare, and planning to sell a portion of his prescription. Looney was being held in the Lawrence County Jail on unrelated charges and he was transported to the Giles County Jail where he was served with the indictment.
“The Office of Inspector General is working with local police and medical providers throughout the State of Tennessee to eradicate this type of criminal activity from the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We are totally committed to eliminating the incidence of people fraudulently obtaining drugs and letting TennCare pick up the tab.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Mike Bottoms 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 1,600 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."