Nashville Woman, On the Run Since Last Year, Facing TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Nashville woman wanted for TennCare fraud has been apprehended, after eluding authorities for five months.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of Metro Nashville Police, today announced the arrest of Theresa J. Onkle, 54, of Antioch.
Onkle was charged by a Davidson County Grand Jury in October of last year, when she was indicted on five counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by doctor shopping. The drugs involved were two strong but often abused painkillers, Hydrocodone and Oxycodone.
"We´re cracking down on people using TennCare to finance their drug habit, “Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. "Local police and providers are committed to helping us eliminate prescription drug abuse, especially when TennCare is involved."
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Glenn Funk is prosecuting.
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."