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Weakley Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 | 12:00am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Weakley County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with the sale of prescription drugs paid for by the state’s health care insurance program.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Weakley County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Mary Jane Seaton, also known as Mary Jane Upchurch, 59, of Gleason.

She is accused of using her TennCare benefits on three separate occasions to obtain the painkiller Hydrocodone and Diazepam, an anti-anxiety medication, and later selling a portion to an undercover informant. Seaton is charged with three counts of TennCare fraud and three counts of sale of a controlled substance.

“We are working with local police and it’s paying off with these kinds of arrests,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “Tennessee consistently ranks high among states for prescription drug use, especially pain relievers, and we’re committed to eliminating drug fraud in TennCare.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. Sale of a controlled substance is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison per charge.   District Attorney General Thomas A. Thomas is prosecuting.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $5 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $176 million for TennCare, according to latest figures.  To date, 2,262 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 Office of Inspector General and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."