|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Fayette County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with using TennCare to pay for fraudulent prescriptions.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Wynta Ne’Cole Earnest, 34, of Somerville.
A Fayette County Grand Jury charged Earnest with two counts of TennCare fraud and two counts of forgery, accusing her of twice obtaining TennCare medical assistance benefits by means for forgery.
“The Office of Inspector General has partnered with local police and medical providers across the State of Tennessee to help us stop this type of illegal activity,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We are committed to eliminating TennCare fraud particularly as it relates to obtaining drugs and letting TennCare pick up the tab.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge, and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General D. Michael Dunavant 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 1,700 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."