Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TennCare Fraud Charge For White County Man

A White County man and a couple from Macon County are charged in separate cases involving TennCare fraud. The Office of Inspector General today announced the arrests. In Macon County, David Bowles, 41, and his wife Ethel, 40 both of Lafayette, are each charged with one count of TennCare fraud. Both are accused of using TennCare to obtain a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, while planning to sell a portion of the pills. In Warren County, Daniel Christopher Burgess, 21, of Sparta, is charged in an indictment with one count of TennCare fraud for obtaining medical benefits through TennCare by fraudulent means.

"People who are committing TennCare fraud are taking something they're not entitled to, and they're taking it from all the taxpayers of Tennessee," said Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner. General Faulkner added, "If you commit fraud against the TennCare program, we will arrest and prosecute you for it."

The TennCare fraud charges against all three could result in a two year sentence, if convicted. District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson, Jr. will prosecute the Macon County Cases. District Attorney General Lisa S. Zavogiannis will prosecute the Warren County Case. The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,300 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."