|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
DAVIDSON COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH IDENTITY THEFT, TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Davidson County man is charged with TennCare fraud for trying to fill fraudulent prescriptions and using TennCare to pay for it.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) along with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department today announced the arrest of 36-year old Thomas A. Gearlds of Nashville.
Gearlds was charged with one count of TennCare fraud, one count of identity theft, and one count of obtaining a Schedule III drug by fraud. The charges against Gearlds allege that he presented a forged prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone.
“This is a great example of a pharmacy that was alert to the tactics some people will use to obtain prescription painkillers,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Pharmacists and their employees are more alert to this behavior and we depend on them to help us identify these cases so we can stop this activity.”
If convicted, Gearlds could be sentenced up to two years on the TennCare fraud charge, a Class E felony. District Attorney Victor S. Johnson, III will be prosecuting this case.
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 830 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."