|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A South Carolina man is charged with TennCare fraud, and has been extradited to Robertson County to face the charges.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), along with the assistance of the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshal’s Service and the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of James Odell Pope, 51, of Conway, South Carolina. He surrendered in Conway, South Carolina, and was transported to Robertson County, Tennessee.
Pope is charged with five counts of TennCare fraud in connection with using his son’s TennCare benefits to obtain prescriptions at a Wal-Mart Pharmacy in Springfield, Tennessee. Pope’s son, James Marvin Pope, is also charged in the case. He was arrested in August.
Illegally obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General John W. Carney will prosecute.
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, nearly 1,500 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."