FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Lauderdale County woman is indicted for TennCare fraud and food stamp fraud for falsely reporting her income in order to obtain benefits from both government programs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of Shandetra Theus, 32, of Ripley. She is charged with TennCare fraud, two counts of theft of services and Food Stamp fraud. Theus is accused of failing to report income to the state in order to qualify for the two programs.
“It’s a simple message that we are carrying across the state - if you lie, cheat or steal to get TennCare benefits, you risk going to jail or prison,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “People who commit TennCare fraud are taking something they’re not entitled to from a program funded by taxpayers.”
If convicted, Theus could be sentenced to up to four years for each Class D felony theft of services charge, and two years on the TennCare fraud and food stamp fraud charge, both being Class E felonies. District Attorney General Michael Dunavant will be prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 2,000 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."