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Two Hawkins women charged with TennCare fraud

February 9th, 2014 1:59 pm by Jeff Bobo

Two Hawkins women charged with TennCare fraud

NASHVILLE – Two women are charged in Hawkins County in separate cases involving TennCare fraud.  

One of the women is charged with TennCare fraud for obtaining prescription drugs using a fraudulent prescription, and the other person is charged with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping.”

On  Friday the Office of Inspector General announced the arrest of two women in separate cases.

Whitney Leann Cooper, 25, of Rogersville, is charged with eight counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping.” 

She’s accused of going to multiple doctors within a short time period to secure prescriptions for the same or similar controlled substances with the clinical visits and/or prescriptions being paid for by TennCare.

Audrey Lynn Smith, 42, of Kingsport, is charged with TennCare fraud and three counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.  

She’s accused of obtaining the painkiller Oxycodone by means of misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge on three separate occasions, using TennCare to pay for the fraudulent prescriptions.

“We work with municipal and county police officers across the state and even citizen tips, to track down TennCare fraud cases,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Local police are clearly committed to eliminating prescription drug abuse, and we’re doing our part to stop abusers who are supporting this lifestyle with TennCare.”

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 and is punishable by two to four years in prison. District Attorney General C. Berkeley Bell 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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