|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two people in Dyer County have been charged in separate cases with TennCare fraud.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of the Dyer County Sheriff’s Department today announced the arrests of Shanna M. Wilson, 29, of Ripley, and Donald W. Bennett, 52, of Trimble.
Wilson was indicted by a Dyer County Grand Jury for one count of TennCare fraud for obtaining TennCare benefits by means of willfully making a false statement.
In a separate incident, Bennett was indicted on one count of TennCare fraud for filling a prescription for Lortab, using his TennCare benefits to pay for the drugs, and later selling a portion of the pills.
“Medical providers, law enforcement and state agencies are no longer tolerating this kind of abuse of TennCare, especially when it relates to addictive prescription painkillers,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re intent on prosecuting every one of these cases to the fullest extent possible.”
District Attorney General Phillip Bivens will prosecute both cases. Illegally obtaining TennCare benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
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."