|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, MAY 27, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A mother and daughter in Lincoln County are accused of selling drugs obtained through the state’s TennCare program.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrests of Geraldine Pirtle, 59, and Amy C. Anderson, 39, both of Fayetteville. Their arrests were assisted by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Fayetteville Police Department.
A warrant charges both Pirtle and Anderson with one count of TennCare fraud for selling the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, after obtaining it with TennCare benefits. Charges say the mother and daughter sold approximately 40 Xanax tablets to an undercover informant, and that both women were present during the sale of the narcotic. TennCare paid for the visit to the doctor who wrote the prescription, which was obtained at a local pharmacy.
"Taxpayers deserve to have their tax dollars spent for legitimate medical services for people who are members of the state’s TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. "We are working closely with local law enforcement agencies and pharmacies to investigate and prosecute these types of crimes."
The charges against both the mother and daughter are a Class D felony, punishable by up to two years in prison. Lincoln County District Attorney General Charles Crawford is prosecuting the case.
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."