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Dyer, Lauderdale Co. Residents Charged with TennCare Fraud

Thursday, February 19, 2015 | 05:51am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Residents of Dyer and Lauderdale County are charged in separate cases involving TennCare fraud, both involving prescription drugs.  The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrests.  

In Lauderdale County, Michael Gwaltney, 56, of Halls, is charged with TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping.  The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the arrest of Gwaltney.  Charges accuse him of seeing multiple doctors within a short time period, receiving the same or similar controlled substances, with the health care services being paid for with TennCare benefits. The charge is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Michael Dunavant is prosecuting.

In Dyer County, Tracy Twitty, 40, of Dyersburg, is accused of three counts of TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping.  The Dyersburg Police Department assisted with the arrest.  The charge is a Class E felony.  District Attorney General Phillip Bivens is prosecuting.

“When individuals doctor shop and use TennCare as a payment, state dollars are being used to pay for drugs intended for distribution or abuse,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We appreciate and value the hard work of the healthcare providers across the state and their efforts in helping us develop these cases.”

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures.  To date, 2,289 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."