|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, AUGUST 3, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A McMinn County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in a multi-agency police investigation centering in Meigs County.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest, which was the result of an undercover investigation involving multiple police agencies and netted the arrest of 25 others for drug charges not related to TennCare fraud.
The individual charged with TennCare fraud is Kimberly Thornburg, 26, of Athens. She was indicted on one count of TennCare fraud and one count of forgery. Thornburg is accused of presenting a fraudulent prescription for the painkiller hydrocodone, using TennCare to pay for the drug, and then selling a portion of the prescription to an undercover agent.
She was among 16 rounded up in the investigation’s latest arrests which came as a result of an ongoing undercover drug investigation. Four individuals were charged with felony sex offenses, including aggravated statutory rape, violation of the sex offender registry and one case of downloading child pornography from the Internet.
Police and K-9 officers and police officers from the 9th Judicial Drug Task Force were joined in the investigation by the OIG, Meigs and Rhea County Sheriffs’ Offices, Decatur City Police, TBI, the Meth Task Force for the Eastern District of Tennessee and case workers from the Department of Children Services.
If convicted, Thornburg could face two to six years in prison. District Attorney General Russell Johnson, 9th Judicial District, will prosecute this case and 25 others.
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."