NASHVILLE, TN – Three people in Rutherford County are charged with TennCare fraud for using the state’s healthcare insurance program to pay for fraudulent prescriptions.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of Smyrna Police today announced the arrests:
- David A. Cousino, 19, of Murfreesboro, charged with TennCare fraud in connection with presenting a forged prescription for 90 tablets of the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare to pay for the forged prescription.
- Violet A. Hennings, 31, of Murfreesboro, charged with six counts of TennCare fraud for six times presenting a forged prescription for 90 tablets of Hydrocodone, which was paid for by TennCare.
- Heather Thomas, 20, of LaVergne, charged with TennCare fraud for presenting a forged prescription for 90 Hydrocodone tablets, with the drugs paid for by TennCare.
“Medical providers, local law enforcement officials, and state agencies will not tolerate this kind of blatant abuse of TennCare, especially when it relates to addictive prescription painkillers,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said.
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General William C. Whitesell, Jr. 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 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.”