|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Hancock County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Leora C. Collins, 40, of Sneedville, after a joint investigation with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.
Collins is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud accusing her of using TennCare on two separate occasions to obtain a prescription, a portion of which she planned to sell. The drug was Buprenorphine (also known as Suboxone), which is used to treat addiction to drugs like heroin and morphine by mimicking the effects of the drugs without causing addiction.
“These types of drugs have their place in medical treatment, but not on the ‘street’ where anyone can purchase them,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re committed to eliminating this abuse and misuse of the TennCare program.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General C. Berkeley Bell 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."