|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Davidson County woman has been charged in Rutherford County with TennCare fraud, in an indictment accusing her of lying to the state to obtain TennCare benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance from the Rutherford County Sheriff, today announced the arrest of Kathy Keel, 38, of Nashville. She is charged with one count of TennCare fraud for claiming two dependents in her home, making the family eligible for TennCare, when the two children had left her home and had been adopted.
“We are in a full-court press to identify and prosecute people who misrepresent themselves to qualify for TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Those who commit TennCare fraud of any type are borrowing time until they are caught and prosecuted.”
The TennCare fraud charge against Keel could result in a two year sentence, if convicted. District Attorney General William C. Whitesell, Jr., is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,300 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
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.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."