|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
THREE DAVIDSON COUNTY WOMEN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Three Davidson County residents are charged with TennCare fraud involving prescription drugs.
Hickman surrendered at the Metro Nashville Police Department after a warrant for her arrest was issued following an OIG investigation. She is accused of conspiring with Kristen Abrams in passing forged prescriptions to a local pharmacy. Hickman is accused of both forging and faxing prescriptions to the pharmacy using the name of a provider. Abrams is accused of also presenting forged prescriptions for the painkiller hydrocodone to the pharmacy.
Hickman is charged with four counts of obtaining scheduled drugs by fraud, two counts of TennCare fraud, two counts of identity theft and one count of conspiracy to obtain scheduled drugs by fraud. Abrams is charged with four counts of obtaining scheduled drugs by fraud, two counts of TennCare fraud and one count of conspiracy to obtain scheduled drugs by fraud.
In a separate case, Taryn McDonald was arrested by Metro Nashville Police on a warrant that linked her to obtaining TennCare benefits although she wasn’t truly eligible for TennCare.
District Attorney Victor S. Johnson, III will prosecute. If convicted, Hickman could serve up to four years per charge for the identity theft charge which is a Class D felony. Both Hickman and Abrams could serve up to four years per charge on obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, a Class D felony and all three could serve two years for the TennCare fraud charge, a Class E felony.
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."