FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Davidson County woman is charged with TennCare drug fraud in an indictment accusing her of selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare, the state’s healthcare insurance program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the charges against Marilyn Ayers, 62, of Madison. She is charged with TennCare fraud along with three counts of sale of controlled substance in a drug free school zone and three counts of possession with intent to sell or deliver controlled substances in a drug free school zone. The charges stem from an investigation conducted by the Metro Nashville Police Department and OIG.
Ayers is accused of selling a portion of her prescriptions of the drug methadone, which is used to treat heroin addiction; methylphenidate, a psycho-stimulant used to treat attention deficit disorder; and, the anti-anxiety medication alprazolam. The drug sales occurred within 1000 feet of a drug free school zone. TennCare benefits paid for the methadone.
“Metro Police laid the groundwork for this case and asked for assistance, and that’s the kind of cooperation we’re building statewide,” Inspector General Deborah Y. 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.”
District Attorney General Victor S. Johnson III will prosecute. If convicted, Ayers could serve up to two years for the TennCare fraud which is a Class E felony, while the sale of schedule II controlled substance in a school zone is a Class B felony, carrying a sentence of up to twelve years in prison per charge, and sale of a schedule III controlled substance in a school zone is a Class C felony and is punishable by three to six years in prison.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 2,000 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
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.tn.gov/tnoig/ and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."