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Davidson Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud

Friday, July 12, 2013 | 04:40am

NASHVILLE, TN – Davidson County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for filling a fraudulent prescription and using TennCare healthcare insurance benefits to pay for it.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), along with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, today announced the arrest of Kawanna Curtis Braden, 35, of Nashville.  She is charged with TennCare fraud, identity theft, and obtaining possession of a controlled substance by fraud.  Charges allege she obtained a prescription by means of a forgery for the painkiller Hydrocodone, bearing the name of a doctor, which she was unauthorized to use, and that she used TennCare publicly-funded insurance benefits to pay for the forged prescription.

“With the cooperation of local law enforcement agencies and medical providers, the Office of Inspector General is aggressing pursuing and prosecuting anyone who commits TennCare fraud,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. 

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and identity theft both are Class D felonies that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison. District Attorney General Victor S. Johnson, III, 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 1,900 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."