An Anderson County man is charged in Knox County with TennCare fraud for using his son’s TennCare healthcare insurance benefits. Two others have been rounded up in Knox County, Grainger County, and a fourth in Claiborne County in separate TennCare fraud cases.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) arrested Anthony Eugene Morgan, alias Anthony Eugene Morgan, Sr., 44, of Clinton, Wednesday Sept. 26. It’s his second arrest for TennCare fraud.
A Knox County Grand Jury charged Morgan with four-counts of identity theft and 27-counts of TennCare fraud. Charges say that between April and June of 2011 he received TennCare benefits by means of identifying himself as another person (his son) with the intent to commit unlawful activity.
Morgan was first arrested on a warrant on April 10, 2011, when he was charged with attempting to use his son’s TennCare benefits in order to obtain the painkiller Percocet for himself.
Identity theft is a Class D felony that carries a maximum of four years in prison per charge. Illegally obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison per charge. District Attorney Randall Nichols will prosecute.
In Knox County, Kimberly Diane Miller is charged with TennCare fraud and theft of property, after receiving healthcare insurance benefits through the TennCare program although she was not legitimately eligible for TennCare.
Also on Wednesday, Sept. 26, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the arrest of Miller, 41, of Knoxville. She is charged with 20-counts of TennCare fraud and four-counts of theft of property (over $10,000). The Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force of East Tennessee assisted in Miller’s arrest.
The charges against Miller accuse her of receiving TennCare benefits for four years – September 2008 to May 2012 – after making false statement or other fraudulent means to get enrolled in TennCare.
“People who misrepresent the facts in order to qualify for TennCare are going to be caught and prosecuted,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “TennCare fraud is a felony and a conviction could mean jail time, a fine, and repaying the state for any medical services received.”
The TennCare fraud charge carries up to a two-year sentence and the theft of property charge could result in a sentence up to 4 years. District Attorney General Randall Nichols is prosecuting.
On Sept. 20, a Claiborne County woman was charged with TennCare fraud, accused of selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare. Amy Elaine Burgess, 48, of New Tazewell, was charged after a joint investigation with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office and the OIG.
Burgess has been charged with TennCare fraud, sale of a Schedule III controlled substance in a drug free zone, and delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance in a drug free zone. Burgess is accused of obtaining the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare benefits, while planning to sell at least a portion of the drug. The offense was committed on or near property with a public facility where children were present.
“When abused, prescription drugs become a threat to our communities, and a threat to our children when people are selling them on or near a school ground,” Inspector General Faulkner said.
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison, and sale and delivery of a controlled substance in a drug free zone are both Class C felonies, punishable by three to six years in prison. District Attorney General William Paul Phillips is prosecuting.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Grainger County Sheriff’s Office, announced the Sept. 20 arrest of Louvita L. Dalton, 33, of Corryton. An indictment out of Grainger County charges her with TennCare fraud and prescription fraud for attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud.
“Our message is simple, if you lie, cheat or steal to get TennCare benefits, you risk going to jail or prison,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said.
“Tennesseans will no longer tolerate prescription abuse, and we intend to stop this crime in the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Providers, pharmacies, and police are more acutely aware of the extremes some people will go to in order to get prescription drugs, especially painkillers.”
Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison. District Attorney General James Dunn 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 1,700 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.”
By Wes Hall