published Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Chattanoogan arrested for TennCare fraud

A Chattanooga woman has been arrested and charged with TennCare fraud after being on the run for five months.

Gabrielle Allen, 26, was arrested this week after an investigation conducted by the state’s Office of Inspector General with the assistance of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, according to a news release.

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted Allen in July of last year, charging her with two counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping.”

The charge against her states that Allen saw multiple physicians within a 30-day period, receiving a prescription for the strong painkiller Lortab — with payment for the visits being covered by TennCare, officials said.

“Prescription drug abuse is a concern of communities large and small across Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner stated in the release. “With the help of local police like the officers in Hamilton County, we are sending a message that abusing TennCare will have serious repercussions.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison.

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, nearly 1,500 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.

Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. To report suspicion of TennCare fraud, call 1-800-433-3982, or log on to www.tn.gov/tnoig and click “Report TennCare Fraud.”

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