HAMILTON CO. MAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE – A Hamilton County man has been charged with TennCare fraud for using his TennCare insurance to pay for forged prescriptions.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 29-year old Thomas J. Willis on a three count indictment from the Hamilton County Grand Jury.
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 2005, 270 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
Willis is accused of obtaining TennCare medical assistance he was not entitled to on three separate occasions, by presenting forged prescriptions to local pharmacies and paying for the drugs with his TennCare card. The drugs involved were the pain relievers oxycodone and a brand version of that drug, Percocet as well as an anti-anxiety medication (alprozolam, the generic version of Xanax).
“Tennessee is at the top of the list of states with high prescription drug use, and pain relievers are a huge part of that in this state,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “While many people are legitimately using these drugs, we’re committed to eliminating the incidence of people fraudulently obtaining drugs and letting TennCare pick up the tab.”
District Attorney William H. Cox will be prosecuting. If convicted, Willis could face up to two years on each of his three counts.
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.”