FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Gibson County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with the sale of prescription drugs paid for with TennCare healthcare insurance benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Gina Darlene Willis, 45 of Bradford. The charges stem from an investigation conducted by the 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force and the OIG.
Willis has been charged after authorities say she obtained a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare as payment, then sold a portion of the prescription for financial gain.
“The 24th Drug Task Force laid the groundwork for this case, making our work easier in bringing TennCare fraud charges,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Local police are usually the first point of contact with some of the individuals committing TennCare fraud, and they want to get it off the streets as badly as we do.”
District Attorney General Garry Brown will prosecute. If convicted, Willis could serve up to two years for the TennCare fraud which is a Class E felony.
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 1,700 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."