|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, JULY 13, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Rutherford County man has been charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) along with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and Murfreesboro police officers today announced the arrest of Johnny V. Johns, 55, of Murfreesboro. He faces seven felony charges for obtaining TennCare medical assistance benefits by fraud. Johns was arrested for the TennCare violations as he appeared in a Rutherford County court on unrelated charges.
The charges against Johns stem from allegations that he presented prescriptions for the painkiller hydrocodone to a local pharmacy, using TennCare to pay for the pills, then later selling portions of the painkiller. .
“We are working with municipal and county police officers across the state to help them eliminate prescription drug abuse,” said Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said.
If convicted Johns could be sentenced up to fourteen years in prison on the charges against him, which are all Class E felonies. Rutherford County District Attorney William Whitesell, Jr. is prosecuting.
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."