TWO MIDSTATE WOMEN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
BOTH CASES: DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE, TN – Residents of Robertson and Franklin Counties are charged today with TennCare fraud.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that female suspects in Robertson and Franklin Counties have been accused of fraud in connection with TennCare healthcare insurance benefits. 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, 291 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
Lonna Kay Wille, 38, of Greenbrier in Robertson county is accused of TennCare and prescription drug fraud stemming from allegations that she tried to use her TennCare benefits to fill an altered prescription for the painkiller Lortab, a brand version of hydrocodone, to reflect a stronger dose of the drug, with six refills, when the original prescription ordered no refills.
If convicted Wille could face up to two years in prison for the TennCare fraud charge and up to four years on the drug fraud charge. District Attorney General John Carney is prosecuting.
In an unrelated case in Franklin County, Joyce Hercules, 50, of Winchester, was indicted on one count of obtaining or attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud, and one count of TennCare fraud. Hercules is accused of giving another person her prescription for a pain medication and her TennCare card, and it was later discovered that the prescription had been altered. District Attorney J. Michael Taylor will prosecute. If convicted Hercules could serve up to four years for the drug charge, a Class D felony, and up to two years for the TennCare fraud charge, a Class E felony.
“We’re intent on cutting out the prescription drug problems that have helped ring up a higher pharmacy bill in TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “The effort to get pain medications for recreational purposes seems to cross all social and economic lines – but we are committed to eliminating the problem in TennCare, because when people are caught, they’re going to be prosecuted.”
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.”