|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Claiborne County man is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare, the state’s public healthcare insurance program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the arrest of Michael Parker, 56, of Tazewell, after a joint investigation with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit.
Parker is charged with one count of TennCare fraud, one count of theft of services and one count of sale of a Schedule III controlled substance. The charges accuse Parker of filling a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare to pay for the drug, and then selling a portion of the pills.
“Local police across the state are working with us on drug cases where TennCare is used to pay for a doctor’s office visit where a prescription is obtained, or to pay for the drug at the pharmacy, or both,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Local police are clearly committed to eliminating prescription drug abuse, and we’re doing our part to stop abusers who are supporting this lifestyle with TennCare.”
The TennCare fraud charge against Parker could result in a two year sentence, if convicted. District Attorney General William Paul Phillips 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, nearly 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."