|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Davidson County woman is charged with TennCare fraud.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Melonie H. Colgate, 41, of Madison. The charges stem from an investigation conducted by Metro Nashville Police and the OIG.
Colgate is charged with one count of TennCare fraud and five counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud in connection with fraudulently obtaining drugs which were paid for by TennCare. The drugs involved were the painkiller Oxymorphone and the anti-anxiety medication Alprazolam.
“Prescription drug fraud in the TennCare program almost always involves controlled substances, or substances being used contrary to their intent,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “People try to get them for themselves, to sell, or both; we intend to stop this activity in TennCare.”
District Attorney General Victor S. Johnson III will prosecute. If convicted, Colgate could serve up to two years for the TennCare fraud which is a Class E felony while the obtaining controlled substance by fraud is a Class D, carrying a possible sentence of two to four years per charge.
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."