|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
KNOX COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– A Knox County woman has been charged with using TennCare to pay for a fraudulent prescription.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Shelley A. Keith, 28, of Knoxville. The arrest is the result of a joint effort with the McMinn and Knox County Sheriff’s Offices.
Keith is accused of presenting a forged prescription for the painkiller Lortab at a pharmacy, and using TennCare to pay for the prescription. Keith faces one count of TennCare fraud and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
“We have zero tolerance for people who use TennCare to support prescription drug abuse or those who are facilitating abusers,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We appreciate the hard work of local police departments for going out of their way to help us win the war against TennCare fraud.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison, and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison. District Attorney General Randall Nichols 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 1,000 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."