Smithville man charged with TennCare fraud
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NASHVILLE, TN - A DeKalb County man is charged with TennCare fraud for using the state’s Medicaid program to pay for fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Jackie Ervin, 36, of Smithville.  He is charged with three counts of TennCare fraud and three counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.  An indictment accuses Ervin of presenting forged prescriptions for the painkiller Lortab and Adderrall, an amphetamine, using TennCare benefits to pay for the forged prescriptions.

“We are pursuing cases across the state with a commitment to stop TennCare fraud,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We’re committed to eliminating the incidence of people fraudulently obtaining drugs and letting TennCare pick up the tab.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge, and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Randall A. York 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 2,000 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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