Hawkins Co. Man Charged 3rd Time with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Hawkins County man is charged for the third time with doctor shopping for controlled substances, using TennCare as payment. All the cases involve efforts to obtain prescriptions for opioids.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Lawrence Lamons, III, 46, of Rogersville. A Sullivan County Grand Jury accused him of going to multiple doctors in a 30-day period to obtain prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare as payment.
Lamons was arrested in October of last year in Greene County when he was charged with using TennCare to doctor shop for the painkillers Hydrocodone and Tramadol. He was first arrested in April of last year when he was charged in Jefferson County with two counts of TennCare fraud by doctor shopping for Hydrocodone.
“We’re cracking down on people using TennCare to finance their drug habit or to put prescription drugs on the street for other users to purchase illegally,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “Local police and providers are committed to helping us eliminate prescription drug abuse, especially when TennCare is involved.”
District Attorney General Barry Staubus is prosecuting the Sullivan County Case. TennCare fraud is now a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,939 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 800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or visit the website and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”