|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
HAMBLEN COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Hamblen County man is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs which had been paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of George Carpenter, 58, of Morristown. The Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the arrest.
An indictment accuses Carpenter of three counts of fraudulently obtaining TennCare medical benefits on three separate occasions by obtaining the pain medications Endocet and Roxicodone while intending to resell at least part of the drugs. Carpenter used TennCare to pay for the drugs.
“The abuse of TennCare benefits will not be tolerated,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Local police, pharmacists, and other medical providers are all working together in the war against TennCare fraud – and we have the tools to pursue these cases as well as laws on the books to prosecute them.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General C. Berkeley Bell is prosecuting.
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."