|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
SEVEN CHARGED IN CANNON CO. TENNCARE FRAUD ROUND-UP
NASHVILLE - Seven people have been charged in a TennCare fraud investigation out of Cannon County.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrests involving “doctor shopping” for drugs using TennCare as payment, and selling drugs obtained through TennCare. The Woodbury Police Department assisted in the undercover investigation and the arrests.
The seven taken into custody are:
- James R. Todd, 53, of Woodbury, charged with three counts of TennCare fraud, four counts of selling a controlled substance and one count of maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of selling a controlled substance. Todd used TennCare to pay for prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone and Alprazolam, a trade name for the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, while concealing the fact he planned to sell a portion of the prescription. Charges say Todd sold these drugs out of his home to an undercover agent in Cannon County.
- Troy Murphy, 49, of Woodbury, was charged with one count of TennCare fraud, one count of sale of a controlled substance, and one count of maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of selling controlled substances; Murphy used his TennCare benefits to pay for a prescription of the painkiller Hydrocodone, and sold a portion from his home which is located within 1,000 feet of a public park. Murphy is alleged to have sold drugs to an undercover agent in Cannon County.
- Deborah Waters, 49, of Bradyville, is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud, three counts of sale of controlled substances, and one count of maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of selling controlled substances. Waters used TennCare to obtain the painkiller Hydrocodone, along with two forms of time-release Morphine, Kadian and Avinza. She is accused of selling the medication out of her home to an undercover agent in Cannon County.
- Carl Dennis Thomas, 61, of Woodbury, is charged with one count of TennCare fraud and two counts of sale or delivery of a controlled substance. It is alleged that Thomas used his TennCare benefits to pay for the painkiller Darvocet, later selling a portion to an undercover agent in Cannon County.
- Dolse M. Murphy, 34, of Woodbury, is charged with eights counts of TennCare fraud by obtaining controlled substances by “doctor shopping” for the benefit of his mother. Murphy failed to disclose to his mother’s physician, who prescribed the anti-depressant Alprazolam, a brand of Xanax, that his mother had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received prescriptions for the same drug. All office visits were paid for by TennCare.
- Jessica Richardson, 28, of Murfreesboro in nearby Rutherford County, is charged with five counts of “doctor shopping.” She’s accused of failing to disclose to her doctor that she had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received prescriptions for the painkillers Hydrocodone and Oxycodone.
- Haskel Merrett, 51, of Woodbury, is charged with one count of TennCare fraud for using TennCare to pay for a prescription for the drug Gabapentin, which is used to treat some epileptic seizures, while concealing that he planned to sell a portion of this prescription.
“The abuse of TennCare benefits may have been easy to get by with years ago, but those days are over,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Local police, pharmacies, and other medical providers are all working together against TennCare fraud.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General William Whitesell, Jr. 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."