Wilson Co. Man Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Wilson County man is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by the state’s healthcare insurance program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Michael A. Pignone, 37, of Mt. Juliet, after a joint investigation with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department.
Pignone is charged with TennCare fraud for allegedly filling a prescription for the strong painkiller Oxycodone, which was paid for by TennCare, while planning to unlawfully sell or distribute a portion of the drugs. Pignone was being held at the Hill Detention Center in Bledsoe County on unrelated charges and was transferred to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office where he was served with the TennCare fraud charge.
“We are working with local police and providers to help us get this kind of activity out of the TennCare program,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We’re committed to eliminating the incidence of people fraudulently obtaining drugs and letting TennCare pick up the tab.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson 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, 2,189 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."