|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Knox County man is charged with TennCare fraud for forging a prescription for pain medication and attempting to have TennCare pay for it.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that 19-year old Brandon L. Byrd has been charged with one count of TennCare fraud and two counts of attempting to acquire a controlled substance by forgery.
The charge against Byrd stems from the allegation that he committed forgery in trying to obtain a prescription for the painkiller Lortab from a pharmacy.
“Because of the cooperation of pharmacists across the state, we are bringing to justice those people who are committing prescription drug fraud and trying to get TennCare to pay for it,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Medical providers, law enforcement agencies and state agencies, are all working together to identify and prevent TennCare fraud.”
If convicted, Byrd could be sentenced up to two years on the TennCare fraud charge, a Class E felony. Obtaining controlled substances by fraud is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years per charge in prison. District Attorney Randall Nichols will be prosecuting this case.
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."