|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Lawrence County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in nearby Giles County for selling prescription drugs which were paid for by TennCare, the state’s public health insurance program for people eligible for the federal Medicaid program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Crystal D. Alexander, 31, of Ethridge, after a joint investigation with the Lawrenceburg Police Department Narcotics Unit and the Giles County Sheriff’s Department.
Alexander is charged with one count of TennCare fraud, with charges saying that she filled a prescription for the anti-anxiety medication Alprazolam, paying for it with TennCare benefits, and then selling a portion of the pills. Alexander was being held in the Lawrence County Jail on unrelated charges and was transported to Giles County when the previous charges were resolved.
“We are working with municipal and county police officers across the state, along with other law enforcement groups as we all target prescription drug abuse in our communities,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Local police are clearly committed to eliminating prescription drug abuse, and we are doing our part to stop these abusers of the TennCare program.”
The TennCare fraud charge against Alexander could result in a two year sentence, if convicted. District Attorney Mike Bottoms 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, 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.