FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – After being on the run for the past four months, a Sevier County man is under indictment in Knox County for TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Sevier and Knox County Sheriff’s Offices, today announced the arrest of Clark Michael Shelton, 36, of Kodak, Tennessee. He is charged with two counts of “doctor shopping,” in addition to six counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
“We continue to build cases against people defrauding TennCare for dangerous drugs they’re taking, selling, or both,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We are sending out a message across Tennessee that the citizens of Tennessee have set forth a zero tolerance policy for TennCare fraud and abuse, and we’re aggressively enforcing it.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison, and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Randall Nichols 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 1,900 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."