BLOUNT COUNTY COUPLE ARRESTED FOR TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE – A Blount County couple is charged with fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs, including an addictive painkiller, with TennCare healthcare benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 48-year-old Michael Dolinger and his 55-year-old wife Patricia, both of Maryville. They were arrested with the assistance of the Blount County Sheriff’s Department.
Governor Phil Bredesen created the Office of Inspector General, one of the first units of its kind in the nation, in 2004. Since it became operational in February 2005, 219 people have been charged with TennCare fraud, leading to 56 convictions for TennCare fraud.
Michael Dolinger is accused of four counts of aiding and abetting his wife Patricia in fraudulently obtaining TennCare medical benefits by using her TennCare card to pay for forged prescriptions for the painkiller hydrocodone and alprazolam, which is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Patricia Dolinger is charged with seven counts of fraud for allowing her husband to use her TennCare benefits to pay for the forged prescriptions.
“Prescription drug abuse takes many forms in Tennessee, taking down friends, co-workers and even family members,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “The OIG will continue to track down and prosecute anyone who abuses the TennCare program, especially prescription drug benefits.”
District Attorney Mike Flynn will be prosecuting these cases. If convicted they each could face prison sentences of up to two years per charge for the Class E felonies.
Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or log on to www.tennessee.gov/tenncare and follow the prompts that read “Report Fraud Now.”