|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Putnam County woman is charged in Overton County with TennCare fraud, for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Overton Sheriff’s Office today announced the arrest of Pamela M. Johnson, 48, of Cookeville. She is charged with TennCare fraud and two counts of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance.
Johnson is accused of obtaining the painkiller Oxycontin with TennCare benefits, and then selling a portion of the drugs.
“Selling prescription drugs is illegal, and using TennCare to obtain drugs to sell will result in arrest, potential jail time, and permanent loss of public healthcare insurance benefits,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We can’t have people selling dangerous drugs to others in our community; the buyer could be our children, other family members, or neighbors.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison, while the delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance charge is a Class C felony, carrying a possible sentence of three to six years. District Attorney General Randall A. York 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."