Authorities have charged two Davidson County residents in separate TennCare fraud cases involving prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General, with the assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, this week announced the arrest of Omar Adbirizak Hassan, 21 and Shannon Lynne Cannon, also known as Shannon L. Hammock, 36. Both are Nashville residents and were part of a fraudulent prescription ring that was allegedly passing fraudulent prescriptions without the knowledge of the local healthcare providers.
This, according to a press release the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration release this week.
Hussan is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud, two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and two counts of identity theft. Authorities say that on two separate occasions, he used TennCare benefits to present fraudulent prescriptions for the painkiller Oxycodone. The prescriptions contained the fraudulent signature of a healthcare provider along with the provider’s DEA number.
Ms. Cannon-Hammock is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud, two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and two counts of identity theft for similar circumstances. Authorities say that on two separate occasions, she used TennCare benefits when presenting fraudulent prescriptions for Oxycodone using the name and DEA number of a healthcare provider without their knowledge.
“The opioid epidemic harms Tennesseans, and using TennCare dollars to pay for fraudulent prescriptions puts salt in that same wound,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said in the press release.
“We appreciate collaboration with other law enforcement agencies in combatting the epidemic and to preserve TennCare dollars.”
TennCare fraud, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and identity theft are all Class D felonies that carry a sentence of up to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Glenn R. Funk is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 3,080 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.”
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