|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
MCMINN COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A McMinn County man is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of David Ray Hicks, 27, of Athens after a joint investigation with the Sheriff’s office in Meigs County, where the charges are filed.
Hicksis accused of one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and one count of TennCare fraud for using TennCare to pay for a fraudulent prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone.
“We are working with municipal and county police officers across the state, as they’re looking for prescription drug abusers of all stripes,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Local police are clearly committed to eliminating prescription drug abuse, and we’re doing our part to stop abusers who are supporting this lifestyle with TennCare.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Russell Johnson is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,000 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."