|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Two women from Shelby County are each charged with TennCare fraud relating to fraudulent prescriptions.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the separate arrests of Danika Shields, 31, and Lashonda Harris, 39, both of Memphis. The arrests were assisted by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
Shields is charged with four counts of TennCare fraud and four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud for presenting fraudulent prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone on four separate occasions, each time using TennCare to pay for the drugs.
In a separate case, Harris is charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud for allegedly forging a prescription for 30 tablets of the painkiller Lorcet, using her TennCare to pay for the prescription.
“The fraudulent misuse of TennCare benefits – especially prescription drugs - is a serious issue that taxpayers, local authorities and state officials will not tolerate,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Crucial to our success is the cooperation of local healthcare providers and local law enforcement agencies.”
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."