|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Morgan County woman accused of obtaining TennCare benefits she did not qualify for must repay the state for medical and pharmacy services provided through TennCare. She must also reimburse the state for food stamps she received from the Department of Human Services (DHS).
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that 38-year old Donna Renee Roberts of Sunbright pleaded guilty to one count of theft of property, a Class C felony, and two counts of food stamp fraud. She received three years of judicial diversion and must repay TennCare over $21,000 for benefits she received and almost $8,000 restitution to DHS for food stamps she received. Roberts was also fined $1,000.
Roberts was indicted in September 2007 on the felony theft of property charge and food stamp fraud for intentionally and repeatedly failing to report information that would have disqualified her for TennCare. District Attorney General Russell Johnson prosecuted this case.
“It’s troubling that anyone with resources would try to get enrolled in a program meant for people who truly need healthcare benefits through TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We are pursuing and prosecuting these type of cases all across the state.”
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.6 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $159 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures.
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."