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Three People in Perry County Charged with TennCare Fraud

Friday, June 22, 2018 | 03:29pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – TennCare fraud charges were brought against three people in Perry County stemming from an undercover investigation targeting individuals selling prescription drugs.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrests, which bring the total number of people arrested for TennCare fraud to 3,001, since the OIG began investigating and pursuing this criminal activity.

A joint undercover operation with the Perry County Sheriff’s Office let the charges being filed against the trio for selling prescription drugs obtained by using TennCare benefits.

“OIG appreciates Perry County Sherriff’s Office collaborating on this investigation and these arrests,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “It is vitally important that we work together to keep opioids off the streets, and equally important that taxpayers do not finance the epidemic.”

The three arrested are:

  • Crystal Lynn Mercer-Dugger, 39, of Linden, charged with TennCare fraud for allegedly selling the painkiller Hydrocodone which she obtained using TennCare benefits.
  • Maggie Jean Gossett, 59, of Linden, charged with TennCare fraud for allegedly selling the drug Adderall obtained using TennCare benefits. Adderall is used to treat attention deficit disorder but often abused as a stimulant.
  • Eddetta Lee, 38, of Linden, charged with TennCare fraud for selling Hydrocodone obtained using TennCare benefits.

District Attorney General Kim Helper 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, 3,001 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.”