THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2005
DICKSON COUPLE ARRESTED AFTER TENNCARE WAS BILLED
FOR FORGED PAINKILLER PRESCRIPTIONS
NASHVILLE – A Dickson County couple is charged today with fraudulently
obtaining prescription painkillers with TennCare health insurance
– just weeks after they were both arrested on similar charges
in another county. The Office of TennCare Inspector General (OIG)
says 34-year-old David
Herrell and his 44-year-old wife Teresa,
both of Dickson, turned themselves in to authorities in Dickson County.
David Herrell is charged with fraudulently obtaining TennCare benefits
and possession of a controlled substance. His wife Teresa was also
charged with possession of a controlled substance, and with aiding
and abetting her husband in fraudulently obtaining TennCare prescription
benefits. A twenty-four count indictment charges that from March 29,
2004 to December 20, 2004 Teresa Herrell telephoned forged prescriptions
for the addictive painkiller hydrocodone to a local pharmacy in Dickson.
Her husband is enrolled in TennCare, and all of the forged prescriptions
were paid for by TennCare.
Last month, a Montgomery County grand jury in Clarksville indicted
David Herrell on two counts of fraudulently obtaining TennCare medical
assistance benefits. Teresa Herrell was charged with twelve counts
of attempting to fraudulently obtain hydrocodone.
“Tennessee pharmacists and their employees have been invaluable
in helping us crack down on prescription drug fraud in TennCare,”
Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “The cost of prescription
drugs is the fastest-growing segment of TennCare’s budget and
we’re working with pharmacies across Tennessee to track down
all types of prescription drug fraud in TennCare.”
The counts against David Herrell are Class E felonies, each punishable
by up to two years in prison. The counts against Teresa Herrell include
both Class E and D felonies, punishable from two to four years in
prison on each count. Bond was set at $7,500 each. Dickson County
District Attorney Dan Alsobrooks is prosecuting.
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.”
TennCare is the state’s managed care health insurance program
for 1.3 million people who are poor, disabled or uninsured.