MONTGOMERY COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, TN – A Montgomery County man has been charged with TennCare drug fraud. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Atonio Baten, 43, of Clarksville.
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 of 2005, 317 people have been charged with TennCare fraud. The OIG is an agency separate from the TennCare bureau.
Baten is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud and two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. He allegedly filled a fraudulent prescription for the painkiller Percocet at a local pharmacy and used his TennCare benefits to pay for the medication. The arrest was assisted by the U. S. Marshal’s Task Force and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
“The 19th Judicial Drug Task Force laid the groundwork for this case and asked for assistance, and that’s the kind of cooperation we’re building statewide,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Local officers are usually the first point of contact with some of those who are committing TennCare fraud, and they want to get it off the streets as badly as we do.”
If convicted Baten could be sentenced up to four years in prison on the charges, which are Class D and Class E felonies. District Attorney John Carney 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.”