|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE - An Overton County man is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs he obtained by using TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 41-year old Ricky W. Smith, of Livingston. The arrest was the result of a joint effort with the Overton County Sheriff’s Office.
For the past ten months, Smith has been a fugitive from justice, indicted in Overton County in January of this year. His whereabouts were unknown until last week. He was indicted on charges of obtaining a prescription for the painkiller Avinza, a form of Morphine, using TennCare to pay for the prescription, and then selling a portion of it.
“Drug diversion – selling prescription drugs – will not be tolerated in the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “People who participate in selling drugs paid for by TennCare – and those who buy them – should understand this is a serious crime we intend to prosecute.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Randall York 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 770 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."