5-Year Fugitive on TennCare Fraud Charges Arrested in Texas

Monday, September 09, 2013 | 08:38 am

NASHVILLE, TN – After being on the run for the past five years, an Overton County man has been arrested in Texas, where he was residing, and has been returned to Overton County to answer to charges of TennCare fraud.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Gary Garrett, 49, of Tyler, Texas.  He was first arrested in October of 2006, when he was charged in Overton County with 11 of TennCare fraud.

The charges all involved presenting fraudulent prescriptions to a pharmacy in Livingston for the painkiller Oxycontin along with Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, and Phenergan, an anti-nausea drug usually prescribed with strong pain medication.  Garrett used TennCare benefits to pay for the prescriptions.

Garrett was scheduled to appear in an Overton County Court in January of 2008.  But he failed to show for his court appearance, and has been a fugitive from justice since that time. Garrett was discovered residing in Tyler, Texas. 

With the assistance of the Smith County, Texas Adult Probation Office and the Overton County Sheriff’s Office, Garrett was extradited back to Tennessee.  He is currently being held in the Overton County Jail.

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 1,900 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."