|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
TWO TENNCARE FRAUD CONVICTIONS: OVERTON, CLAIBORNE COUNTIES
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In two unrelated cases, Tennesseans accused of TennCare fraud have pleaded guilty to the charge.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the plea agreements of Ricky W. Smith, 41, of Livingston, and 60-year old Elizabeth Gray Grimmett, of Tazewell.
Smith pleaded guilty to one count of facilitation of TennCare fraud, and was sentenced to serve eleven months, twenty-nine days probation. He was ordered to pay restitution to TennCare in the amount of $1,097.41. Smith had sold a portion of his TennCare medication, Avinza--a form of Morphine, to an undercover agent.
Elizabeth Gray Grimmett was arrested earlier this year by the 8th Judicial Drug Task Force for selling a controlled substance and TennCare fraud charges were subsequently added. Grimmett pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of casual exchange of a Schedule III controlled substance, and two felony counts of TennCare fraud. She was granted Judicial Diversion for two years, and placed on unsupervised probation. She was also ordered to pay $500 to the Economic Crime Fund, $2,000 Forfeiture to the 8th Judicial Drug Task Force, and she also paid restitution to TennCare.
“The illegal trafficking of TennCare drugs is a problem across the state, and we simply will not tolerate it,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “TennCare enrollees who participate in selling drugs paid for by TennCare should understand this is a serious crime we intend to prosecute.”
The OIG, a law enforcement agency separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has worked cases leading to the arrest of over 820 individuals for TennCare fraud, with nearly $1 million paid in restitution to TennCare, and total estimated cost avoidance in TennCare of over $122 million, according to latest figures.
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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."