Three Middle Tennessee Residents Charged with TennCare Fraud

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 | 12:37 pm

NASHVILLE– Residents of Sequatchie, Wayne and Marion Counties in Middle Tennessee have been charged with felony counts of TennCare fraud in unrelated cases.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that Andrew L. Wilbourn, Jr., 18, of Whitwell, and Willard Land, 66, of Dunlap, were both indicted by a Sequatchie County Grand Jury in separate incidents.  Each is accused of selling prescription painkillers to an undercover informant with the Sequatchie County Sheriff’s Office. In Land’s case, the drug was the painkiller hydrocodone; Wilbourn is accused of selling a prescription for adderall, a stimulant used most often to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  In both cases, the prescriptions were paid for by TennCare.

In an unrelated case, Manuel D. Bunch, 57, of Clifton, was indicted by a Perry County Grand Jury on one count of TennCare fraud.  Bunch is accused of using TennCare benefits to pay for a prescription of the painkiller hydrocodone, later selling a portion of the drugs.

“Prescription drug benefits are important, especially in the TennCare program where some members are in the program because they’re very ill and lack the means to acquire the medications they have been prescribed,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said.  “But we cannot allow people to abuse the benefit to pocket the money from selling addictive drugs in our communities.”

If convicted of the TennCare fraud charges, each man could face a two year sentence. District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor is prosecuting the Sequatchie County cases and District Attorney General Kim R. Helper will be prosecuting the Perry County case.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures.  To date, over 1,100 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."