|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
LOUDON CO. PAIR CHARGED FOR 2ND TIME WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two Loudon County men are charged in Knox County with TennCare fraud for trying to fill fraudulent prescriptions, using TennCare to pay for them. This is the second time each has been arrested for TennCare drug fraud.
Smallen and Smith are both charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The charges against both men say they presented a forged prescription for the painkiller oxycodone and trying to use a TennCare card that belonged to neither of them to pay for it.
Smallen and Smith were arrested earlier this year in Blount County. That time, Smallen was charged with three counts of TennCare fraud, three counts of identity theft, one count of obtaining a schedule III drug by fraud, and two counts of obtaining a schedule II drug by fraud. Smith was charged with one count of TennCare fraud, one count of obtaining a schedule II drug by fraud and one count of identity theft. Those charges said they presented forged prescriptions for the painkillers hydrocodone and oxycodone using the name of a provider who did not authorize it.
“Pharmacies across Tennessee are alert to the tactics criminals use to obtain prescription painkillers,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We depend on Tennessee pharmacies to be suspicious with pain medications, as we depend on them to help us identify these cases so we can prosecute them.”
If convicted, both Smallen and Smith could be sentenced up to two years on the TennCare fraud charge, a class E felony, and up to four years each on the drug charge, a class D felony. District Attorney General Randall Nichols will be prosecuting these cases.
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."