|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
SHELBY COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Shelby County man is charged with TennCare fraud for trying to fill a forged prescription for a strong painkiller, and pay for it with TennCare benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Seth Dondeville, 20, of Memphis. His arrest was assisted by the Memphis Police Department.
Dondeville is charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of attempting to obtain a controlled substance by forgery – in this case, the pain medication Lortab.
“We have more and more of these types of cases involving controlled substances people try to obtain fraudulently using TennCare benefits,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “These types of crimes often multiply during a difficult economy, but we are also bringing more pharmacists, doctors and local police into our network of people trained to spot these cases and help us stop them.”
Illegally obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. Attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony which carries a maximum penalty of up to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney William L. Gibbons will prosecute this case.
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."