|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Cheatham County man has been charged in Montgomery County with stealing the identity of a TennCare enrollee in order to obtain medical services using TennCare as payment.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Jackie L. Walden, 53, of Chapmansboro. This arrest was a joint effort with the Montgomery County and the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office.
Walden was arrested on an indictment of six counts of identity theft for knowingly using the personal information of a TennCare enrollee to obtain medical services paid for by TennCare. He is also charged with three counts of forged prescriptions and three counts of TennCare fraud. The indictment says he impersonated a TennCare enrollee to receive treatment at a Clarksville medical clinic in order to obtain a prescription for the painkiller hydrocodone, so that TennCare would pay for the visit and the drugs.
“People who are seeking addictive painkillers are sometimes desperate in their attempts to obtain the drugs,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “But we’ve been working with doctors and pharmacists so that they are more aware of some of the tactics and so they know we can act quickly when they suspect TennCare fraud.”
TennCare fraud is a class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. Identity theft and the forged prescription charges are class D felonies that carry a sentence of up to four years per charge in prison. District Attorney General John W. Carney will be prosecuting.
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.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."