|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Shelby County woman is charged with TennCare fraud relating to prescription pain medication.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Alison White, 44, of Memphis. Her arrest was assisted by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.
A Shelby County Grand Jury indicted White on one count of TennCare fraud and five counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Charges say that on five separate occasions, White used TennCare benefits to pay for the painkiller Hydrocodone which was obtained by means of forgery.
“There’s a culture of people who use prescription drugs for non-medical uses, and many of them don’t view the activity as illegal because the drugs are legal and have legitimate medical uses,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Our communities are not tolerating this activity any longer, and we’re committed to getting it out of the TennCare program.”
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 per charge. District Attorney General Amy P. Weirich 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."