FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN - A Monroe County man is charged for the second time with TennCare doctor shopping, a crime involving the pursuit of prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance from the Monroe and McMinn County Sheriff´s Offices, today announced the arrest of Richard Martin, 32, of Sweetwater. Martin is charged in McMinn County with one count of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by doctor shopping.
Charges accuse Martin of seeing multiple physicians within a 30-day period to obtain prescriptions for the same or similar controlled substances, with the physician office visits and/or the prescriptions being paid for by TennCare. In addition, Martin is charged with three counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
Martin was previously arrested last month in a Monroe County indictment when he was charged with one count of doctor shopping.
"There was a time when people could more easily commit these crimes without getting caught, but technology has allowed us to find ways of tracking and stopping this crime," Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said.
TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. 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 General R. Steven Bebb is prosecuting the McMinn County case.
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."