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Three in Lake Co. Charged with TennCare Fraud, Part of Larger Drug Round-Up

Thursday, November 08, 2018 | 04:50pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Three people in Lake County are charged with TennCare fraud in a round-up involving 18 people charged in total. The arrests are the result of an undercover investigation called the Shady Lake Operation, involving the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the 29th Judicial Drug Task Force, Tiptonville Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

The three people charged with TennCare fraud involve people trying to sell prescription drugs that had been paid for by TennCare. The drug sold during this investigation was Suboxone, which is used to treat opiate addiction by mimicking the opiate effect without producing addiction.

“We appreciate the collaborative efforts of the West Tennessee Drug Task Force, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Tiptonville and Ridgely Police Departments,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “By pooling our resources, we can win the war against opioids, especially where TennCare is involved.”

The three charged with TennCare fraud are:

  • Randall Cagle, Jr., 34, of Ridgely, charged in two separate indictments for TennCare fraud, alleging that on two separate occasions, he used TennCare benefits to obtain Suboxone and later sold a portion of the drugs to an undercover informant;
  • Misty M. Decker, 37, of Ridgely, charged with TennCare fraud for using TennCare to obtain Suboxone, later selling a portion to an undercover informant; and,
  • Kristina Burkett, 30, of Ridgely, charged with one count TennCare fraud for unlawfully and intentionally using her TennCare benefits to obtain Suboxone and later selling a portion to an undercover informant.

District Attorney General Danny Goodman is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison per charge.

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, 3,047 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 www.tn.gov/tnoig/ and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”