|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE - Three Tennesseans are charged in separate cases with TennCare fraud involving prescription drugs, with one of them charged for a second time with TennCare fraud.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Jennifer W. Hampton, 49, of Unicoi; Jerry Fisher, 58, of Carthage; and, Sandra Fisher, 49, of Hartsville. The arrests were assisted by the Smith and Unicoi County Sheriff’s Offices.
Hampton is charged for a second time with TennCare fraud, facing one count of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping,” or visiting several doctors in a 30-day period to obtain prescriptions for the painkiller hydrocodone and alprozolam, an anti-depressant. The office visits were paid for by TennCare. Hampton was arrested once before for TennCare fraud, in July 2009, when she was charged with one count of TennCare fraud, again involving prescription painkillers.
Jerry Fisher is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud for obtaining a prescription for hydrocodone, while planning to later sell a portion of the drugs.
Sandra Fisher is charged with three counts of fraudulently obtaining TennCare medical assistance benefits by a willfully false statement, or other fraudulent means.
District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson will prosecute the Smith County cases and District Attorney General Anthony Clark will prosecute the Unicoi case. TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison.
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, almost 1,500 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."