|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A White County woman is charged in Nashville with TennCare fraud and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Connie Lucille Hooper, 42, of Sparta. The U.S. Marshal Service Fugitive Task Force assisted with the arrest.
Hooper was indicted by a Davidson County Grand Jury for TennCare fraud and obtaining controlled substances by fraud. Charges accuse her of fraudulently obtaining prescriptions for the painkiller Lortab, also known as Hydrocodone, with the drug being paid for by TennCare.
“Prescription drug abuse is a concern across Tennessee, especially when it comes to dangerous and addictive painkillers,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We will not tolerate people using a public program to obtain these drugs, and we’ll fully prosecute every case.”
District Attorney General Victor S. Johnson III will prosecute. If convicted, Hooper could serve up to two years for the TennCare fraud charge which is a Class E felony. The obtaining controlled substance by fraud charge is a Class D felony which carries a possible sentence of two to four years.
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."