|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
GILES COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Giles County woman has been charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Jessica S. Whitworth, 28, of Pulaski, after a joint investigation with the Giles County Sheriff’s Department.
Whitworth has been charged with one count of TennCare fraud for filling a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, which was paid for by TennCare, then selling a portion of the pills.
“We are working with municipal and county police officers across the state, as they often get the first tip on a local drug investigation, and they contact us when there’s a chance TennCare is involved,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Local police as well as providers are clearly committed to eliminating prescription drug abuse, and we’re doing our part to stop abusers who are supporting this lifestyle with TennCare.”
If convicted, the TennCare fraud charge against Whitworth could result in a two year sentence. District Attorney Mike Bottoms 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 1,050 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."