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Three Claiborne Co. Residents Charged with TennCare Fraud

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | 02:41am

NASHVILLE, TN – Three Claiborne County residents are charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs that were purchased using TennCare healthcare insurance benefits.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Crystal J. King, 32, of Clairfield, Patricia A. Smith, 49 and David L. Johnson, 49, both of New Tazewell, after a joint investigation with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office.

King is charged with TennCare fraud, sale of a Schedule II controlled substance and delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance. The charges say she used TennCare to obtain the painkiller Oxycodone, while planning to sell a portion of the drugs.

Johnson is charged with TennCare fraud, three counts of sale of a Schedule III controlled substance, and three counts of delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance.  He’s accused of using TennCare benefits to obtain the painkiller Hydrocodone with the intent of selling a portion of the pills.

Smith is charged with TennCare fraud, two counts of sale of Schedule IV controlled substance, sale of a Schedule III controlled substance, two counts of delivery of a Schedule IV controlled substance, and delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance.  She’s charged in connection with using TennCare to obtain the pain medication Lortab, while planning to sell a portion of the drugs.

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison; sale or delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison; and, sale or delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance is a Class C felony, punishable by three to six years in prison.  District Attorney General William P. Phillips is prosecuting.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures.  To date, over 1,700 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."

TennCare Fraud | Press Releases