Meigs County Woman Charged With TennCare Fraud

Friday, December 6, 2013
Tonya Jillane Bunch
Tonya Jillane Bunch

A Meigs County woman is charged with TennCare fraud related to selling prescription drugs paid for by the state’s Medicaid program. 

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) on Friday announced the arrest of Tonya Jillane Bunch, 39, of Decatur.  The arrest is the result of a joint effort with the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office.

Ms. Bunch is charged with TennCare fraud and sale of a schedule III controlled substance.  According to the indictment, Ms. Bunch used TennCare healthcare insurance benefits to pay for a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, part of which she later sold.

“Prescription drug fraud is a crime local police across Tennessee are working against every day, and we join their efforts when TennCare is involved,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said.  “We are intent on stopping this activity in the TennCare program.”

District Attorney General Russell Johnson is prosecuting.  TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison.   The sale of schedule III controlled substance is a Class D Felony with a possible sentence of two to four years 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, over 2,000 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 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."



Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Mitchell). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. PUBLIC HEARING - Annexation - Lookout Mountain Conservancy PUBLIC HEARING - Deannexation - Institute of Health and Healing V. Ordinances – Final Reading: PLANNING ... (click for more)

No Injuries Reported In Apartment Fire Friday Morning

Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a reported fire in North Chattanooga shortly before  10 a.m.  on Friday.   When firefighters arrived at 316 Chambliss Street, light smoke was showing from the quadplex. Battalion Chief Chris Warren said the fire appears to have started on the backside of one of the apartments. Chief Warren said a neighbor was ... (click for more)

Managed Hunting Is Necessary In Maintaining A Stable Deer Population - And Response

I enjoy seeing the whitetail deer that we have in so many areas here in East Tennessee, but here in Hamilton County we have been approaching the maximum habitat sustainability in some places including the Enterprise South area. I make this statement due to the fact that I have seen up to 20 deer driving around in Hixson in one evening during the summer. I believe that TWRA is doing ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: At Last! New Schools

In this me-me-me-only-me world of today, we-we-we-finally got a thrilling $125 million facility plan for the Hamilton County Department of Education on Thursday night. The School Board unanimously approved a well-thought-out “first Band-Aid” that will provide a new elementary school in Harrison, middle schools in East Hamilton and Howard, and a quite-satisfactory answer to move ... (click for more)

Baylor Wins State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – There were tears on both sides of the court at MTSU’s Murphy Center Thursday afternoon. There were tears of relief and joy for the Baylor Lady Red Raiders while the tears for the Briarcrest Lady Saints represented heartbreak and disappointment. Such is the case when two really good volleyball teams meet for the second straight year for a D-II Class AA ... (click for more)

Lanters Are Latest Sister Acts Leading Lady Flames Teams

When one looks back on the success of the Lee University women’s soccer program over the past 16 years, it is easy to see what sisters have provided. Records show the surge began in 2001 and continues today with senior Summer and freshman Anna Lanter (former Soddy Daisy High School standouts) helping spark the Lady Flames to a current 8-4 overall mark and 7-2 in the rugged Gulf ... (click for more)