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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2014

 
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
615.532.8560 (OFFICE)

    
     

TWO CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD IN UNION COUNTY

NASHVILLE, TN – Two people are charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs that were purchased using TennCare healthcare benefits.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Robin D. Wilkerson, 45, of Maynardville and Richard Rupe, 58, of Corryton, after a joint investigation with the 8th Judicial Drug Task Force and the Union County Sheriff’s Department.

Wilkerson is charged with TennCare fraud, sale of a Schedule II controlled substance, and delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance in connection with using TennCare to obtain the painkiller Oxymorphone while planning to sell a portion of the drugs.

Rupe is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud, sale of a Scheduled II controlled substance, and delivery of a Scheduled II controlled substance, also in connection with using TennCare benefits to obtain Oxymorphone while planning to sell a portion of the drugs.

“Communities across the state are diligent in their efforts to get prescription drugs off the streets,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said.  “We are working with local police, citizens and healthcare providers to end this abuse, especially in the TennCare program.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. The sale or delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance is a Class C felony, punishable by three to six years in prison.  District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones is prosecuting.

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, 2,083 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."