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."


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