Dyer Co. Woman Charged 2nd Time with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Dyer County woman is charged a second time with doctor shopping for drugs, using TennCare as payment.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Dyersburg Police Department, today announced the arrest of Crystal J. Lawson, 35, of Newbern. An Obion County Grand Jury charged her with two counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by doctor shopping.
Lawson was first charged with doctor shopping in December of 2014 after a Grand Jury indictment in Dyer County charging her with fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by doctor shopping involving the painkiller Oxycodone. The Dyer County charges are still in the court system.
“The unauthorized use and abuse of prescription drugs continues to be a serious issue in the State of Tennessee,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We’re committed to ensuring that TennCare benefits are used to improve the public health.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Thomas A. Thomas is prosecuting the Obion County case.
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, 2,299 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."