|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – Six people in Smith County are charged with TennCare fraud after an undercover investigation targeting people selling prescription drugs that were paid for by TennCare. The operation, a joint effort between the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Smith County Sheriff’s department, involved people obtaining the painkiller hydrocodone with TennCare benefits, and later selling a portion of the drugs to undercover agents.
“We are winning the war against TennCare fraud, especially against those people who try to subsidize illegal narcotics with taxpayer funds,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “The painkillers involved in this investigation are addictive, dangerous, and should be used only on the advice of a physician.”
The six people arrested are:
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson 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 1,400 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."