|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – Two women in Nashville are charged together in a TennCare fraud indictment in connection with filling a fraudulent prescription and using TennCare public healthcare insurance benefits to pay for it.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), along with the Metro Nashville Police, today announced the arrest of 32-year old Mary Rachel Carter and 23-year old Laura Leigh Sweeney. They are each charged with TennCare fraud and obtaining possession of a controlled substance by fraud.
The indictment against them says they took a forged prescription for the painkiller Dihydrocodeinone, similar to Hydrocodone, using TennCare benefits to pay for the forged prescription.
“Certain prescription drugs are classified as controlled substances because they have a dangerous potential for abuse and addiction,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “TennCare pays for such medications when prescribed under the direction and supervision of a physician, but we’re committed to pursuing those cases involving fraud and abuse especially when these classifications of dangerous drugs are involved.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison. District Attorney Victor “Tory” S. Johnson is prosecuting.
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."