|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
CLAY, ROBERTSON COUNTY RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Residents of Clay and Robertson Counties are charged in separate cases with TennCare fraud related to prescription drugs – and for both, it was their second arrest for TennCare fraud.
Brown was charged when she appeared for arraignment in Clay County Circuit Court on unrelated charges. She’s accused of filling a prescription for the painkiller Endocet, paid for by TennCare, concealing the fact that she planned to sell a portion of the prescription. Brown was first arrested by the OIG in August of 2005 for selling the painkiller Oxycontin, using TennCare to pay for the prescription.
In a separate arrest, Charity Watts is charged with one count of TennCare fraud, one count of identity theft, two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and one count of theft of services. She’s accused of trying to obtain the painkiller Hydrocodone on two separate occasions, attempting to use another person’s TennCare. She was first arrested by the OIG in July of 2006 for delinquency of a minor for attempting to pass a forged prescription using the TennCare benefits card of a minor.
“We have TennCare fraud cases we are pursuing in almost every county in Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Those that have been charged twice apparently didn’t get the message the first time, but we’ll keep reinforcing it.”
The TennCare fraud charges against both could result in a two year sentence, if convicted.
District Attorney General Randy York will be prosecuting Beverly Brown’s case and District Attorney General John W. Carney is prosecuting Charity Watts’ case.
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."