NASHVILLE, KNOXVILLE RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, TN – Residents of Nashville and Knoxville are the latest charged with TennCare fraud.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the two separate arrests, one involving prescription drug forgery and the other involving a person who stayed on TennCare even after going to work for a company that offered health care benefits.
Governor Phil Bredesen created the OIG, one of the first units of its kind in the nation, in 2004. Since it became operational in February 2005, 273 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
Misty Butler, 31, of Knoxville, is charged in a two-count indictment with TennCare fraud and obtaining narcotics by fraud. She’s accused of presenting a forged prescription and using TennCare to pay for the prescription. Butler was already incarcerated for unrelated matters in Anderson County when she was served. District Attorney Randy Nichols is prosecuting. If convicted, she could face up to six years in prison for TennCare fraud and as much as 12 years for obtaining narcotics by fraud.
In an unrelated Davidson County case, Emad M. Hassan, 42, of Nashville, is charged with theft of property and TennCare fraud. He’s accused of continuing to use TennCare even though he had health care insurance offered through his workplace. Hassan was removed from TennCare about a year ago when the program was reformed to tighten eligibility for the public health care program. At the time he was a TennCare enrollee, adults who were not eligible for Medicaid but met other health or income requirements could sign up for TennCare if they had no access to health insurance.
If convicted Hassan could face up to two years for each charge. District Attorney Torry Johnson will be prosecuting this case.
“Even though the TennCare program has changed, we’re pursuing cases where we can show that people cheated the system during that time,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Those cases are crimes against the taxpayer, and they caused great damage to the program’s credibility, but we’re out to change that perception by making the program clean and accountable and pursuing every case we come across, large and small.”
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 Fraud Now.”