|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN - A Stewart County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Melissa Ann Wright, 41, of Indian Mound, after a joint investigation with the 23rd Judicial District Drug Task Force. Wright is charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of sale of a schedule III controlled substance. She is accused of 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 discover a TennCare element during local drug investigations,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Local police are clearly committed to eliminating prescription drug abuse, and we’re doing our part to stop abusers who are supporting this lifestyle with TennCare.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison, and sale of a Schedule III controlled substance is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison. District Attorney General Dan M. Alsobrooks 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 1,300 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."