|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Rhea County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare, the state’s public healthcare insurance program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Heidi A. Connell, 32, of Dayton, after a joint investigation with the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office.
Connell is charged with one count of TennCare fraud for allegedly using TennCare benefits to obtain a prescription for the anti-anxiety medication Adderall, while planning to sell a portion of the prescription.
“Local police have been indispensible in helping us identify local drug trafficking that could involve the use of TennCare to finance inventory for the illegal activity,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulker said. “We are working with municipal and county police officers across the state, as they are clearly committed to eliminating prescription drug abuse, and we’re doing our part to stop abusers who are supporting this lifestyle with TennCare.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, nearly 1,500 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."