MEMPHIS WOMAN CONVICTED IN 31-COUNT TENNCARE FRAUD CASE
ORIGINAL CHARGES INCLUDED ID THEFT
NASHVILLE – A Memphis woman has been convicted after she was charged last June with 31 counts of TennCare fraud, identity theft, prescription drug fraud, forgery and theft of services.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Shelby County District Attorney General today announced the conviction of 49-year-old Cheryl Worthey. She was indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury last June.
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, 247 people have been charged with TennCare fraud, leading to 60 convictions for TennCare fraud and 14 cases resolved.
“This was one of the largest indictments issued after one of our very first investigations,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “The case developed because of the close cooperation between the OIG and Shelby County District Attorney General, which has shown a strong commitment to helping us in the war against TennCare fraud.”
Worthey was accused of obtaining TennCare medical assistance by falsely representing herself or concealing facts that would have made her ineligible for benefits. She was also indicted for trying to obtain prescription drugs by using the Drug Enforcement Agency control numbers assigned to five different doctors. In addition, Worthey was accused of 18 counts related to presenting pharmacies in Memphis with forged prescriptions for the addictive painkiller Lortab. Worthy also faced five charges of forgery for writing or altering prescriptions for controlled substances with the intent to defraud.
At her sentencing, Worthey was ordered disqualified from TennCare at least until she makes restitution to TennCare for $7,215. She was effectively sentenced to two years total jail time, after which she’ll be in community correction with intensive probation for eight years, along with mandatory drug addiction treatment and mental health counseling.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.”