|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN - A Hardin County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for using her allergy medication, which was paid for by TennCare, as a precursor in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Mandy Franks, 34, of Savannah, after a joint investigation with the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department.
Franks was charged as she appeared in Hardin Circuit Court on other unrelated charges. At the time of her arraignment she was served with an additional charge of TennCare fraud. In addition to the TennCare fraud charge, Franks has been charged with one count of initiation of process to manufacture methamphetamine, one count of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, one count of unlawful drug paraphernalia uses and activities and one count of aggravated child endangerment.
Authorities say that Franks had in her possession four “one pot” meth cook bottles, a gas generator and various other items with the intent to manufacture and deliver methamphetamine. Also found in Franks’ possession were several syringes, a scanner, and high wattage light bulbs to manufacture, prepare, test, inject, or inhale a controlled substance into the human body. It was discovered during this investigation Franks knowingly obtained Claritin-D which TennCare paid for. Claritin-D contains pseudoephedrine, which is a precursor in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Franks was also charged with knowingly exposing a minor child to the manufacturing of methamphetamine.
“Governor Bredesen worked to restrict certain over-the-counter medications, making them harder to obtain, and easier to be caught using them to make methamphetamine,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “These medications provide relief to people who need them but people who use TennCare to obtain them for making meth are playing against the likely odds that they’ll get caught.”
The TennCare fraud charge against Franks could result in a two year sentence, if convicted. District Attorney General Hansel J. McCadams 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."