|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
LOUDON COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Loudon County resident is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Jonathan Smallen, 21, of Lenoir City. Smallen’s arrest was assisted by the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office.
Smallen is charged with three counts of TennCare fraud, three counts of acquiring or obtaining possession of a controlled substance and three counts of identity theft. TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. Obtaining controlled substances by fraud is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Russell Johnson is prosecuting.
“The fraudulent misuse of TennCare benefits is a serious issue but the OIG is cracking down on these cases,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Crucial to our success is the cooperation of local healthcare providers and local law enforcement agencies.”
The OIG, a law enforcement agency separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has worked cases leading to the arrest of over 860 individuals for TennCare fraud, with nearly $1 million paid in restitution to TennCare, and total estimated cost avoidance in TennCare of over $122 million, according to latest figures.
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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."