Volume 51, Number 50

ten pages

Byrdstown, Tennessee 38549 -- Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pickett residents charged with TennCare fraud

Pickett residents charged with  TennCare fraud      Two Pickett County residents are charged in separate cases with TennCare fraud involving prescription drugs.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) this week announced the arrest of Michael J. Hall, 38, and William H. Pemberton, 66, both of Byrdstown. The arrests were assisted by the Pickett County Sheriff’s Office.

Each man is charged with using TennCare benefits to obtain the painkiller Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, while planning to distribute a portion of the prescription.

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Randall A. York will prosecute these cases.

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 1,900 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."

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