|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, June 4, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Greene County woman is charged in nearby Carter County with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Phyllis Hamm, 55, of Chuckey, after a joint investigation with the 1st Judicial Drug Task Force, the Johnson City Police Department Vice Unit, the Carter County Sheriff’s Department and the Elizabethton Police Department.
Hamm is charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of sale of a Schedule III controlled substance. She’s accused of using TennCare benefits to obtain a prescription for Suboxone, a painkiller used to treat addiction to drugs such as morphine, later selling a portion of the prescription.
“We are working closely with local law enforcement officers in an aggressive effort to go after anyone who misusing their TennCare benefits,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re intent on stopping illegal drug activity in TennCare.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison, and sale a Schedule III controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison. District Attorney General Anthony Clark 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."