NASHVILLE, TN – Two people in Giles County are charged in separate cases with TennCare fraud involving selling prescription drugs paid for by the state’s Medicaid healthcare insurance program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the arrest of Christina J. Marks, 24, of Goodspring and Melanie B. Reach, 43, of Pulaski after a joint investigation with the Giles County Sheriff’s Office and the Pulaski Police Department.
Reach is charged with TennCare fraud for using TennCare benefits to obtain the painkiller Hydrocodone, then selling and delivering a portion of the prescription, a Schedule III controlled substance.
Marks is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud in charges that accuse her of using TennCare benefits to obtain the painkiller Lortab, a Schedule III controlled substance, and then on both occasions, selling a portion of the drugs.
“We mean to eliminate the drug resale activity in the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Selling prescription drugs to other people is illegal, and intolerable when public dollars are involved.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Mike Bottoms 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.”