|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE - A Roane County man has been charged in Knox County with using TennCare to pay for fraudulent prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office today announced the arrest of Brian Strange, 39, of Kingston.
Strange is accused of using TennCare to pay for forged prescriptions for Ultram, a narcotic-like pain reliever and Lunesta, a drug used to treat insomnia. He faces one count of TennCare fraud and four counts of forgery.
“The prescription drug abuse problem is a target of law enforcement and health care providers in communities across Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We have zero tolerance for people who use TennCare to support prescription drug abuse, and we appreciate the hard work of local police agencies assisting us in winning the war against TennCare fraud.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Randall Nichols is prosecuting.
The OIG, a law enforcement agency separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has worked cases leading to the arrest of over 760 individuals for TennCare fraud, with nearly $1 million paid in restitution to TennCare, and total estimated cost avoidance in TennCare of over $122 million, according to latest figures.
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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."