|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Sevier County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for filling an altered prescription and using TennCare to pay for it.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) along with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office today announced the arrest of 29-year old Elizabeth D. Valentine, of Pigeon Forge.
Valentine was charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The charges against Valentine allege she presented an altered prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone to a local pharmacy and used TennCare benefits to pay for the altered prescription.
“With the cooperation of local law enforcement agencies and medical providers, we are winning the war against TennCare fraud,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Local officials are watchful and aggressive in pursuing these cases, as we are on the state level.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison. District Attorney General James B. Dunn 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 1,240 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."