|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Knox County woman is charged in Anderson County with TennCare fraud for using the program to pay for fraudulent prescriptions.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of the Anderson County and Knox County Sheriff’s Offices, today announced the arrest of Amy M. Estep, 39, of Knoxville. She is charged with nine counts of TennCare fraud and nine counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Estep is accused of presenting forged prescriptions for the painkiller Lortab, along with Keflex and Amoxicillin, both antibiotics, at a local pharmacy, using TennCare to pay for the forged prescriptions.
“We have investigations throughout the State of Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “The OIG is committed to stopping TennCare fraud and we will prosecute the cases to the fullest extent of the law.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge, and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General David Clark 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."