TWO PUTNAM COUNTY RESIDENTS ARRESTED FOR TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE – Two people in Putnam County are charged with TennCare fraud in separate incidents. The Office of Inspector General today announced that a man and woman are charged in Cookeville – one for fraudulently obtaining controlled prescription pain relievers, the other for intentionally disclosing information that would have made her ineligible for TennCare.
Governor Phil Bredesen created the Office of Inspector General, one of the first units of its kind in the nation, in 2004. Since it became operational in February 2005, 230 people have been charged with TennCare fraud, leading to 57 convictions for TennCare fraud and 14 cases resolved.
“We hope those who think about abusing TennCare are getting the message that we are aggressively pursuing TennCare fraud and making arrests statewide,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “This is our 17th arrest for April and we’ve arrested 69 people in the first quarter of the calendar year – and we have many more cases in the pipeline.”
Chad E. Vincent, 33, of Cookeville is accused of passing a forged prescription in January, paying for it with TennCare, then trying to do the same thing again at four other pharmacies using different identities. The drugs he was attempting to obtain include: morphine, a powerful pain reliever used to treat severe pain; Percocet, a brand version of oxycodone, a narcotic pain reliever; and promethazine, a sedative often prescribed to prevent nausea when taking strong pain killers. Vincent presented the fraudulent prescriptions using the identities of three TennCare enrollees.
In a separate case, Nakia Irwin, 31, is accused of one count of TennCare Fraud and three counts of food stamp fraud for failing to provide the Department of Human Services with accurate job and income information while she was enrolled in TennCare through Families First. If Irwin had reported her correct income, she would not have been eligible for TennCare or the $7,671.13 in medical and pharmacy benefits received by her and her daughter.
Both arrests were coordinated with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. District Attorney William E. Gibson will be prosecuting the cases. If convicted Irwin could serve one to two years for the TennCare fraud charge. Chad Vincent could face up to two years for each count.
Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or log on to www.tennessee.gov/tenncare and follow the prompts that read “Report Fraud Now.”