HAMILTON CO. MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TENNCARE FRAUD
UNRELATED MONTGOMERY CO. CASE SETTLED
NASHVILLE, TN – A Hamilton County man has pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the plea entered in Chattanooga – along with a settlement in an unrelated case in Montgomery County. Governor Phil Bredesen created the OIG, one of the first units of its kind in the nation, in 2004. Since it became operational in February of 2005, 314 people have been charged with TennCare fraud. The OIG is an agency separate from the TennCare bureau.
Lewis Vayda, 38, of Ooltewah pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraudulently obtaining TennCare benefits. He was arrested in December of last year on charges he presented pharmacies with forged prescriptions for controlled drugs in his name and in the name of another TennCare member – with TennCare picking up the tab. The drugs involved were the painkiller hydrocodone and two similar brand drugs, Percocet and Oxycodone, along wth ,to local pharmacies to obtain Hydrocodone, Percocet, Oxycodone and another painkiller, Tramadol.
“Local pharmacies have been key to the crackdown on prescription drug fraud in the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Officials at all levels across the state have intensified efforts to detect TennCare fraud, and know they can count on us to pursue these cases in their communities”.
Vayda received a suspended two-year sentence and will be on supervised probation for the period.
An unrelated case in Montgomery County has been settled. It involves a couple arrested in May this year for turning down health insurance through an employer and instead remaining on TennCare. Charles A. Seay, 64, and his wife Barbara J. Seay, 63, both from Clarksville, were charged with two counts of TennCare fraud and one count of theft of services over $10,000. She received two years pretrial diversion, when she will be on probation and must repay TennCare $3,000.00. Charges against her husband were dismissed.
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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read “Report Fraud Now.”