|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
FOUR MORE CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD IN WAYNE COUNTY PROBE
TOTAL OF 14 ARRESTED
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two more people are charged with TennCare fraud in Wayne County, bringing to 14 the number of people charged in the past week after an undercover investigation. Involved in the effort were the Office of Inspector (OIG), the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, and Waynesboro Police Department.
All the arrests involve individuals obtaining prescription medications paid for by TennCare, with the intent of selling them. The two additional arrests are:
"The fraudulent misuse of prescription drugs is simply no longer being tolerated by communities and citizens, and we’re working to eradicate it from TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. "Healthcare providers and local law enforcement officers across the state are working with us to investigate and prosecute these types of crimes."
If convicted both could be sentenced up to two years for the TennCare fraud charge which is a class E felony. District Attorney General Mike Bottoms will be prosecuting these cases.
Four people were charged last week in the probe, and the first six arrests happened before the Thanksgiving holiday. All the arrests involved people obtaining prescription painkillers with TennCare benefits, with the intention of selling them to an undercover informant.
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 1,050 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."