Three People in Sullivan Co. Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Three Sullivan County residents – including a mother and son - are charged with TennCare fraud. The charges follow an undercover operation involving the Office of Inspector (OIG), Bristol Police and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department.
“It is simply unacceptable to use TennCare benefits and taxpayer funds to subsidize the abuse and resale of prescription medications,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “Our office coupled with the local law enforcement agencies are committed to aggressively pursuing individuals who commit TennCare fraud and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law.”
Included in the arrests:
- Nancy E. Wynegar, 51, of Bluff City, charged with four counts of TennCare fraud, four counts of sale of Morphine and four counts of delivery. She’s accused of fraudulently obtaining TennCare benefits and, on four separate occasions, selling the painkiller Morphine to an undercover informant.
- Wynegar’s son, Tony Barr, 28, of Bluff City, is charged with TennCare fraud along with sale and delivery of Morphine. He’s accused of fraudulently obtaining medical services through TennCare and delivering the painkiller Morphine.
- Kristy L. Collins, 37, of Blountville, charged with six counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by doctor shopping. The indictment accuses her of seeing multiple physicians in a short period of time to obtain prescriptions for the same or similar controlled substances.
District Attorney General Barry P. Staubus will prosecute. If convicted, all could serve up to two years per charge for TennCare fraud which is a Class E felony while the sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance charge is a class C felony, carrying a possible sentence of three to six years per charge.
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, more than 2,307 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."