Former Pickett man pleads guilty to TennCare fraud
A former Pickett County man pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud in connection with filling almost a dozen forged prescriptions for the painkillers and other drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) this week announced the conviction of Gary Lynn Garrett, 49, of Tyler, Texas. He pleaded guilty to 11 counts of TennCare fraud for filling forged prescriptions for the painkiller Oxycontin, as well as Xanax, and anti-anxiety medication and Phenergan, a stomach medication often used with painkillers. The drugs were paid for with healthcare insurance benefits from TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program.
Garrett was found living in Tyler, Texas, recently after failing to appear on the charges in Overton County on Jan. 11, 2008, at which point a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was apprehended and extradited with the assistance of the Smith County, Texas, Adult Probation Office and the Overton County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are working diligently to stop the abuse of the TennCare program – especially in the area of prescription drugs,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We are pursuing prescription cases across the state and will prosecute anyone who is abusing the TennCare program.”
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."