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Hawkins County couple charged with TennCare fraud

staff report • Oct 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM

A Hawkins County couple face charges of TennCare fraud after allegedly attempting to use benefits to obtain Subutex, an opioid used in the treatment of heroin addiction, then sell a quantity of the drug.

The Tennessee Office of Inspector General reports Bradley Scott Neal, 28, and Christine Thacker Neal, 24, both of Church Hill, are each charged with two counts of TennCare fraud. The offense is a class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge.

"It’s unfortunate when people use TennCare this way, in an effort to abuse or resell prescription drugs," Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner states in a Tuesday press release. "On the other hand, getting caught can often be the first step to getting help, and that’s what we hope happens in all our prescription drug fraud cases."

The couple allegedly attempted to use Christine Neal's TennCare benefits to obtain a Subutex prescription. Sealed indictments returned Oct. 1 by a Hawkins County grand jury state Bradley Neal aided and abetted his wife's attempts by, "concealing the fact she intended to sell a portion of said prescription."

The OIG reports that to date, more than 1,700 people have been charged with TennCare fraud. A Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature allows individuals to receive cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips leading to convictions.

Suspected TennCare fraud can be reported by calling 1-800-433-3982, or visiting tn.gov/tnoig and following the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."

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