|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
HAWKINS COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Maury County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Eunice D. Ellis, 70, of Mt. Pleasant, after a joint investigation with the Mt. Pleasant Police Department.
Ellis has been charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of sale of a controlled substance. She is accused of filling a prescription for Kadian, an extended-release form of morphine, using TennCare to pay for it then selling a portion of the prescription.
“Local police agencies across the state are focused on prescription drug trafficking and are often the first to discover TennCare involvement in illegal drug sales, and that’s when the OIG gets involved,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “What we bring to the table are the tools and knowledge to bring TennCare fraud charges so that we have a successful prosecution and can eliminate this activity in our communities.”
The TennCare fraud charge against Ellis could result in a two year sentence, and the sale of a controlled substance charge is a class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison if convicted. District Attorney General Mike Bottoms is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,000 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."