|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
SMITH COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Smith County man is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of James R. Pruett, Jr., 48, of Carthage, after a joint investigation with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.
Pruett is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud for allegedly filling a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, paid for by TennCare, and then selling a portion of the pills.
“We are working with local police and sheriff’s officers across the state, as they pursue the resale of prescription drugs and we look for any connection to TennCare in the crimes,” 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.”
The TennCare fraud charges against Pruett could result in a four year sentence, if convicted. District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson 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 1,050 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."