East Tennessee pharmacist indicted on healthcare fraud charges

A Claiborne County grand jury indicted a New Tazewell pharmacist for healthcare fraud charges in October.

Joseph “Jess” Collins, 56, of Middlesboro, Ky., is charged with TennCare fraud, insurance fraud and computer crimes. Each charge is valued at more than $60,000.

Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services began investigating allegations against Collins in January 2013.

Agents found Collins submitted hundreds of fraudulent claims for prescription medications to Medicare and TennCare from May 2008 to May 2013. Collins worked at Woody’s Pharmacy in New Tazewell at the time.

According to the TBI, Collins claimed to have dispensed oxycodone, and Rebif, which is an injectable drug used to treat multiple sclerosis.

Collins turned himself in last week, and authorities booked him into the Claiborne County Jail.

Authorities released Collins after he posted $25,000 bond.


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