|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Claiborne County man is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Ernest Brown, 58, of New Tazewell, after a joint investigation with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office.
Brown has been charged with one count of TennCare fraud, two counts of sale of a Schedule II controlled substance, and two counts of delivery of Schedule II controlled substance. He is accused of obtaining the painkiller morphine with TennCare benefits, while planning to sell a portion of the drugs.
“We are intent on eliminating drug fraud from the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “People who try to use public dollars to finance drug trafficking will get caught and prosecuted.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. The sale of and delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance is a Class E felony, punishable by three to six years in prison per charge. District Attorney General William Paul Phillips 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."