|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Gibson County couple is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the arrests of Carl R. Turnbow, 64, and Nikomus L. Turnbow, 33, both of Kenton. The charges stem from an investigation by the OIG, the Martin Police Department and the 27th Judicial Drug Task Force. Gibson and Weakley County Sheriffs’ Departments assisted in the arrest.
The Turnbows are charged jointly with one count of sale of a Schedule III controlled substance, Hydrocodone. Additionally, Carl Turnbow is been charged with one count TennCare fraud for allegedly obtaining a prescription for Hydrocodone that was paid for by TennCare, and with his wife’s assistance, later selling a portion of the prescription.
“Reselling prescription drugs is illegal, period, and using TennCare to finance the effort is a crime the citizens of Tennessee won’t tolerate,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re working closely with local police, sheriffs departments, and drug task force offices across the state on these kind of cases.”
District Attorney General Thomas A. Thomas will prosecute. If convicted, the Turnbows could serve up to four years for the Sale of the Schedule III controlled substance, and Mr. Turnbow could serve up to 2 years for the TennCare fraud charge.
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 1,400 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."