Rhea Co. Man Charged 2nd Time With TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Rhea County man is charged a second time with TennCare fraud involving prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 23-year old Michael D. Smith, of Dayton. A Hamilton County Grand Jury indictment charges him with doctor shopping, which is the crime of going to multiple physicians in a short period of time in order to obtain controlled substances, using TennCare as payment. He was also charged with obtaining controlled substances by fraud.
Smith was first arrested last December, stemming from an indictment in Rhea County accusing him of forging his grandmother’s signature in order to obtain a prescription for the painkiller Oxycodone. He was charged with TennCare fraud and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, in addition to two counts of doctor shopping and two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
“Prescription drug abuse is a concern of communities large and small across Tennessee,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “With the help of providers, we’re sending a message that abuse of TennCare benefits will result in an arrest and prosecution.
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Neal Pinkston will be prosecuting the Hamilton 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, more than 2,314 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."