THREE MID-STATE RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
DAVIDSON CO. WOMAN, TWO FROM RUTHERFORD CO. CHARGED
NASHVILLE – A Davidson County woman is charged with attempting to pass a forged prescription using the TennCare card of a minor.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that Charity Watts, 27, of Goodlettsville was charged with TennCare fraud, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and obtaining a controlled drug by fraud.
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, 268 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
“When a crime other than TennCare fraud is committed, the state, local police and prosecutors work with us for conviction on those crimes as well,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “In addition, when local police make an arrest and they have any reason to suspect it touches TennCare, we take a look at the case for fraud charges.”
Police say in the Charity Watts case, the juvenile involved was also at the scene during the attempt to fill the forged prescription and claimed Watts paid $70 to use the child’s TennCare card. The local pharmacy delayed the two until the OIG and Metro Police arrived. District Attorney General Tory Johnson will prosecute the case. If convicted Watts could face two to four years for the drug fraud charge, up to two years for the TennCare fraud charge, and less than a year on the misdemeanor charge involving the juvenile.
In an unrelated case, a Rutherford County couple is charged for turning down insurance at their work place and using TennCare instead. John C. Young, 38, and his 41-year-old wife Denise are charged with concealing from the state the wife’s access to insurance. They are also charged with obtaining over $60,000 in TennCare benefits. The couple enrolled in TennCare during a time when adults not eligible for Medicaid could get TennCare insurance if they met other health care or income requirements.
District Attorney Bill Whitesell will prosecute and if convicted each of the Youngs could face up to twelve years in prison.
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.”