When Father Doesn’t Know Best

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Estrangement between a parent and a child can have lingering consequences, but engaging in fraud to try to revive a relationship just makes everything worse. According to the Kingsport Times News, that’s exactly what one Tennessee dentist, and dad, did.

The story states that the father provided his 32-year-old daughter with a total of seven hydrocodone prescriptions by fraudulently using the TennCare account of one her friends, without the friend’s knowledge or permission. Five of the prescriptions were filled, allowing his daughter to receive 100 hydrocodone pills that, effectively, ”maxed-out” her unknowing friend’s account. (The dentist’s daughter had only recently reconnected with this former school chum—how convenient.)

Here’s the clincher: the friend discovered the fraud and contacted the police when her attempt to fill a prescription to treat pneumonia was declined, and she was told by a pharmacist that her prescription account lacked the funds necessary to cover the medicine. (Just when you think it can’t get much worse than a father who helps his daughter acquire narcotics, in walks a helpless victim, stricken with a potentially deadly illness, who can’t get the drugs she actually needs.)

The police department passed on the case to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which landed father and daughter in court. They both accepted plea agreements and were each sentenced to two years of probation. As part of the father’s plea deal, he agreed to surrender his medical license and extract himself from his dentistry business, as well as pay more than $28,000 in fines and fees, in addition to restitution to the state of Tennessee. The daughter—who pleaded guilty to five counts of fraudulently obtaining TennCare benefits, seven counts of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance and another five counts of forgery—was ordered to pay $17,500 in fines and a forthcoming amount in restitution.

According to the court records, the father’s reason for doing all of this was to make nice with his daughter, who had spent her life believing a different man was her biological father. The daughter had reconnected with her father and the friend they took advantage of around the same time. (Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.) It’s a sad rationale for fraud, but no less criminal.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Hawkins dentist, daughter sentenced to probation for TennCare, Rx fraud,” written by Jeff Bobo and published by the Kingsport Times News on February 17, 2016.

ROGERSVILLE — A Surgoinsville dentist, who reportedly committed prescription fraud and TennCare fraud in an attempt to mend the relationship with his daughter, was sentenced with her Friday to two years of probation.

Dr. Ronald David James, 65, 4519 Highway 11-W, pleaded guilty in Hawkins County Criminal court to five counts of TennCare Fraud and seven counts of prescription fraud.

Aside from two years and one day of supervised probation, James was ordered by Judge John Dugger to pay $28,109 in fines and fees, as well as restitution to the state, which will be set within 30 days.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.