NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A 76-year-old Crockett County pharmacist is charged with TennCare fraud involving billing the program for expensive medications that patients never received and the sale of bogus prescriptions for cash.
A Crockett County grand jury indicted Glen R. Bonifield after a six-month investigation involving the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the West Tennessee Drug Task Force – 28th District.
Bonifield is charged with 25 counts of TennCare fraud and one count of theft over $10,000. He’s being held on $350,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Crockett County Circuit Court on Friday, October 7, 2016.
“Law enforcement is working together across Tennessee to win the battle against TennCare fraud and prescription drug abuse, and this effort is a great example of that effort,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said.
Johnie Carter, Special Agent in Charge of the 28th Drug Task Force, said the investigation began in 2015 with agents purchasing controlled pills and crack cocaine from pharmacy employees as well as passing bogus prescriptions with Bonifield in exchange for cash. A search of the pharmacy yielded approximately 35 pounds of controlled substances along with illegal weapons and alcohol. While processing that evidence, agents discovered large discrepancies in controlled substance accounting. Carter said some 195,000 controlled substance pills remain unaccounted for by inventory.
Agents received information that Bonifield was providing controlled substances to patients and billing TennCare for Abilify, an expensive antipsychotic which the patients say they never received. Agents say that in one instance, TennCare was billed nine times for a total of $7,857.85 for Abilify, an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia. The patient was given a different medication and told that it was Abilify.
Carter says the investigation is continuing and branching out into other areas and people involved with the pharmacy and pharmaceutical diversion. The 28th Drug Task Force is made up of officers assigned full-time from the Crockett and Gibson County Sheriff’s Offices and the Humboldt, Milan and Trenton Police Departments.
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, 2,740 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or visit the website and follow prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”