|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Bradley County man is charged with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” and selling drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the arrest of Clifford M. Guthrie, 29, of Cleveland, Tennessee. The Bradley County Sheriff’s office assisted in the arrest, after a grand jury indicted him on three counts of TennCare fraud for “doctor shopping,” and three counts of obtaining the painkiller Lortab, a brand version of hydrocodone, by fraud.
Guthrie is accused of knowingly giving false information or withholding information in order to fraudulently obtain the drugs, using TennCare benefits to pay for both clinical visits and the Lortab prescriptions.
“Doctor shopping is a crime that is unacceptable and not tolerated by the OIG or local law enforcement,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We are working closely with pharmacists and other medical providers in order to stop this crime dead on.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney Steven Bebb 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.