|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
GILES COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Giles County man has been charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Charles N. Luna, IV, 37, of Pulaski after a joint investigation with the Giles County Sherriff’s Department.
Luna has been charged with two counts of TennCare fraud and is accused of using TennCare to pay for prescriptions for a pair of powerful drugs, concealing the fact that he intended to sell at least a portion of medications. The drugs involved were the intravenous pain medication Buprenorphine, and Naloxone, which is a drug generally used to counteract pain medication or to treat an overdose of pain drugs.
“There are some cases of very serious drugs that were headed for street sales – painkillers that can only be injected are clearly intended to be used almost exclusively in a hospital or clinic situation,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re committed to stopping illegal drug trafficking financed by TennCare, especially when strong drugs like these are headed for the streets of our communities.”
The TennCare fraud charges against Luna could result in a two year per charge sentence, if convicted. District Attorney General Mike Bottoms 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."