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Tipton County Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 | 07:56am

NASHVILLE – A Tipton County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for using the program to obtain prescription drugs, which she later sold.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Willie Mae Somerville, 49, of Covington.   She was indicted on one count of TennCare fraud for obtaining a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare benefits to pay for the prescription and concealing that she intended to sell a portion of the drug.

“We are committed to weeding prescription drug abuse out of the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said.  “Healthcare professionals, local law enforcement and community leaders are also committed to stopping this activity.”

The TennCare fraud charges against Somerville could result in a two year sentence if convicted. 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 $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 1,600 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."