Doctors convicted of fraud
An Estill Springs physician and his wife, who is also a doctor, must repay the state almost $20,000 each and serve time in jail since they've pleaded guilty of TennCare fraud in Franklin County Circuit Court at Winchester.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) on Wednesday announced the convictions of Dr. Floyd Brown, 55, an osteopathic specialist, and his wife, 55-year old Kristine Puchta-Brown. Both are to report to the Franklin County Jail on Nov. 2.
A state spokeswoman said in March last year, he was charged with six counts of TennCare fraud, one count of theft of services, 92 counts of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud with one count of impersonation of a licensed professional. His wife, arrested at the same time, was charged with one count of theft of services, three counts of TennCare fraud and 92 counts of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud.
Both pleaded guilty to theft of services and theft of identity and they are each ordered to repay the state $19,935. Both were also ordered to serve a jail sentence of three years; however, this sentence will be converted to probation once both of the Browns have served 80 actual days in custody. District Attorney J. Michael Taylor prosecuted the cases.
The OIG is a law enforcement agency separate from TennCare. It began full operation in February 2005 and has worked cases leading to the arrest of more than 520 individuals for TennCare fraud, with over $700,000 paid in restitution to TennCare, and according to recent figures, there's been a total estimated cost avoidance for Tenn-Care of more than $75 million. 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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."