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Hardeman Co. Man Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 | 12:00am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Hardeman County is charged with TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping, or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain controlled substances.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), in a joint investigation with the Middleton Police Department, today announced the arrest of Ben Ervin, 35, of Bolivar.  He is charged in an indictment with using TennCare benefits to doctor shop for prescriptions for the painkillers Oxycodone and Tylenol-3, which has the pain reliever codeine.

“People who are doctor shopping for controlled substances to obtain multiple prescriptions are committing a crime, regardless if the intention is personal abuse or selling drugs to others,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said.

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison.   District Attorney General D. Michael Dunavant 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, 2,270 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."