In Jefferson County, Tennessee, a woman managed to elude authorities for four and a half years before finally being arrested in connection with TennCare fraud. The Tennessee Office of Inspector General worked in conjunction with the Sheriff’s offices in Jefferson and Sevier countries to announce the apprehension of 24-year-old Brittany N. Gottschalk of Dandridge. In January of 2013, a Sevier County Grand Jury indicted Gottschalk on two counts of fraudulently using the state’s TennCare program to acquire a control substance. The announcement of the arrest was made on August the 2nd.
Authorities allege that Gottschalk engaged in doctor shopping while attempting to acquire Tylenol with codeine. She was offering TennCare as a payment. Inspector General Manny Tyndall spoke about the charge. “We want to send a strong message across Tennessee and beyond that the citizens of Tennessee have set forth a zero tolerance policy for TennCare fraud and abuse – and we intend to aggressively enforce it. We intend to help preserve TennCare for the people who truly need it.”
District Attorney General James Dunn will be responsible for prosecuting the case. In the State of Tennessee, TennCare fraud is a Class E felony. It comes with a maximum 2 years in prison for each charge. The OIG is separate from TennCare. In February of 2005, the OIG initiated a full operation to investigate TennCare fraud cases. Since then, the agency’s work has led to more than $3 million being repair to the TennCare program. A total of 2,882 people have been charged in relation to TennCare fraud.
Legislature has created the OIG Cash for Tips program, which encourages Tennesseans to report residents that may be fraudulently using the TennCare program. Those that submit a tip can get a cash reward in the event of a conviction.