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Two in Knox Co. Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | 08:41am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two Knox County residents are charged with TennCare fraud in separate cases involving prescription drugs.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced charges filed against Jocelyn Colvin, 38, and Heather Harper, 30, both of Knoxville.  The Knox County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the arrests.

Heather Harper is charged with six counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by doctor shopping for prescriptions, using TennCare as payment. She is also charged with ten counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

Jocelyn Colvin is charged in connection with fraudulently acquiring the painkiller Hydrocodone, using a dependent’s TennCare benefits.  She is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud.

“Prescription drugs are quickly replacing illegal drugs as the drug of choice for many people,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said.  “However, we’re committed to focusing on this activity in TennCare to stop it and prevent it.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison per charge.  District Attorney General Charme Allen is prosecuting.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $5 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $176 million for TennCare, according to latest figures.  To date, 2,195 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