FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Davidson County woman is charged with TennCare fraud and theft of services after receiving healthcare insurance benefits through TennCare, even though she was not eligible for the program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Ashley Wardlaw, 27, of Nashville. She is charged with one count of TennCare fraud and two counts of theft of services, and was served with the indictment at the Davidson County Jail, where she is being held on unrelated charges. The indictment says Wardlaw received TennCare benefits by means of willfully false statements or other fraudulent means.
“People who misrepresent their current situation in order to qualify for TennCare will be caught and prosecuted,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “TennCare fraud is a felony, and a conviction could mean jail time, paying the state back for medical services or losing the privilege of applying for TennCare in the future.”
The TennCare fraud charge carries up to a two-year sentence, and the theft of services charge could result in a sentence up to 8 years. District Attorney General Victor S. Johnson, III is 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 1,700 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."