LAWRENCE COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE – A Lawrence County man is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs he obtained with TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 35-year old Jerry Peden, of Five Points. The arrest was the result of a joint effort with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.
For the past year, Peden has been a fugitive from justice, indicted in Lawrence County in April of last year. His whereabouts were unknown until this week. He was indicted on charges of obtaining a prescription for the painkiller Morphine, using TennCare to pay for the prescription, and then selling a portion of it.
“Drug diversion – selling prescription drugs – will not be tolerated in the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Enrollees who participate in selling drugs paid for by TennCare – and those who buy them – should understand this is a serious crime we intend to prosecute.”
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, a law enforcement agency separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has worked cases leading to the arrest of over 675 individuals for TennCare fraud, with over $700,000 paid in restitution to TennCare, and total estimated cost avoidance in TennCare of over $75 million, according to latest figures.
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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."