THREE FROM MID-STATE ARRESTED FOR TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE – Two people from Putnam County and one from Rutherford County are charged today with TennCare fraud related to obtaining drugs illegally with TennCare footing the bill.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the three unrelated cases. 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, 274 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
“We’re determined to keep public dollars from supporting individuals’ drug habits,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re getting terrific cooperation from pharmacists who are keenly on the lookout for people altering and forging prescriptions.”
In Putnam County, Nicole Dotson, 19, of Cookeville was arrested and charged with one count of TennCare fraud for fraudulently obtaining medical benefits she was not entitled to by presenting a Cookeville pharmacy with an altered prescription for the painkiller Lortab.
In another Putnam case, Chad E. Vincent, 33, of Cookeville was indicted on one count of TennCare fraud for attempting to fraudulently obtain TennCare benefits he was not entitled to by presenting a pharmacy in Cookeville with a forged prescription in the name of another TennCare enrollee for the painkiller Avinza – which contains morphine – as well as Lasix, a diuretic and Phenergan, an antihistamine.
District Attorney William E. Gibson will be prosecuting the Putnam County cases. If convicted both could face up to two years in prison for the Class E felonies.
In Rutherford County, Eric Z. Jarvis, 26, of Murfreesboro was charged with a total of 12 counts – five involving TennCare fraud – for attempting to pass forged prescriptions and using TennCare to pay for them. Jarvis is accused of acquiring or attempting to acquire by fraud or forgery drugs normally prescribed for severe pain and anxiety – including Lortab, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Xanax. Jarvis is further charged with fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain TennCare medical benefits to pay for altered prescriptions.
District Attorney Bill Whitesell of Rutherford County will be prosecuting the Jarvis case. If convicted, Jarvis could serve up to 2 years for each count.
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.”