HAMILTON ARREST FOR TENNCARE FRAUD IS #301
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL IN OPERATION 18 MONTHS
NASHVILLE, TN – An arrest today in Hamilton County brings to 301 the total number of TennCare fraud arrests since the Office of Inspector General (OIG) became operational in February of last year. Governor Phil Bredesen created the OIG, one of the first units of its kind in the nation, in 2004.
Verdas Johnson, 28, of Chattanooga is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Johnson allegedly submitted an altered prescription for Hydrocodone, an addictive painkiller, and used his TennCare card to pay for the prescription. The Red Bank Police Department assisted with the arrest.
“In the past year and a half, local health care providers across the state have become familiar with us and know they can call us when they suspect fraud and we will follow up immediately,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Providers are really partners with the state in watching out for TennCare fraud, especially abuse of TennCare pharmacy benefits.”
The controlled substance fraud charge is a Class D felony and carries a penalty of up to four years in prison. The TennCare fraud charge is a Class E felony carrying a penalty of up to two years in prison per count. Hamilton County District Attorney William H. Cox is prosecuting.
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.”