|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Morristown man is charged in a Hamblen County indictment with TennCare fraud related to selling prescription drugs paid for by the TennCare program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Jason M. Smith, 27. The arrest is the result of a joint effort with the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office. Smith is charged with TennCare fraud for using TennCare benefits to pay for a prescription for Suboxone, later selling a portion of the drugs. Suboxone is an opiate used to treat people with heroin addiction.
“Strong prescription drugs are necessary therapy in some treatments, but these drugs are lethal in the hands of people who have no medical necessity for them,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Aside from the public safety factor, TennCare funding should not be abused in this manner.”
District Attorney General C. Berkeley Bell is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is a Class E felony that carries up to a two year sentence.
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, over 1,700 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."