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Coffee Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud

Friday, September 05, 2014 | 04:48am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Coffee County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for using the state’s Medicaid program to obtain a prescription drug, which she later sold.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Deborah Kay Copestick, 61, of Manchester, after a joint investigation with the Tullahoma Police Department.

An indictment accuses Copestick of TennCare fraud in connection with selling the painkiller Hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance, which was obtained through TennCare healthcare insurance benefits.

“New rules are scheduled to go into effect in October that will make most Hydrocodone products less accessible, and that’s because this is a strong drug that is dangerous when not used under a doctor’s care and for a medical purpose,” Acting Inspector General Lawrence S. Saylor, Jr., said.  “It is critical that law enforcement personnel do all we can to stop the abuse of this drug, especially in the TennCare program.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Craig Northcott 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, 2,177 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