FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Sevier County man is charged for the third time with doctor shopping for controlled substances, using TennCare healthcare insurance benefits as payment.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Clark Michael Shelton, 37, of Kodak. A Sevier County Grand Jury charged him with four counts of doctor shopping for controlled substances. In addition, Shelton was charged with three counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
Shelton was arrested earlier this month on an indictment out of Greene County, where he is charged with six counts of doctor shopping for the pain killer Lortab, in addition to six counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. His first doctor shopping arrest was a year ago in Knox County, also involving two counts of doctor shopping and six counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
“Crossing into another county to try to get prescription drugs does not prevent a person from being busted for trying to stock up on prescriptions for painkillers,” Acting Inspector General Lawrence S. Saylor, Jr., said. “We will continue to go after these individuals every time they try to commit fraud against TennCare, which is vitally important to a lot of Tennesseans.”
TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General James Dunn 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 TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,172 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."