|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Davidson County woman has been charged with fraudulently obtaining TennCare – and it’s her second time facing that charge.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Vickie Gwen Townsend, 38, of Madison.
Townsend was arrested in Sumner County by the Hendersonville Police Department and charged with ten counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The OIG added ten counts of TennCare fraud when her case was presented to a grand jury. Townsend has been indicted for ten counts of TennCare fraud and ten counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Townsend is accused of obtaining the painkiller Hydrocodone by using fraudulent prescriptions on ten separate occasions and using TennCare to pay for the drugs.
Townsend was arrested August 21, 2010, by the OIG on similar TennCare fraud charges in Davidson County.
“We have open cases in almost every county in Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re committed to stopping this type of activity so TennCare will be there for people who need healthcare and can’t afford it.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge, and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Lawrence Ray Whitley 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 1,240 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."