A Macon County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for with TennCare public healthcare insurance benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Tina Bates, 43, of Lafayette, after a joint investigation with the 15th Judicial Drug Task Force. She is charged with one count of TennCare fraud for using TennCare benefits to obtain a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone and concealing the fact she planned to unlawfully sell a portion of the prescription.
“The illegal sale of prescription drugs threatens our communities, and is a further threat when public dollars are used to finance their purchase,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said.
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney Victor “Tory” S. Johnson is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,700 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.”