|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, APRIL 5, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Davidson County woman has pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud for misrepresenting the number of children she was responsible for.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced sentencing for 38-year old Kathy Keel of Nashville. She was arrested in January in Rutherford County for failing to notifying the state that two of her children had left her home and had been adopted by other parents.
Keel pleaded guilty to one count of TennCare fraud, and received a suspended sentence to probation, and is ordered to pay almost $9,500 in restitution to TennCare and over $1,120 in court costs.
“People who are eligible for TennCare likely don’t have a lot of money, so getting a restitution agreement in a fraud case is an added success for the state,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Clearly, the goal is to protect the integrity of TennCare and make sure people aren’t abusing the program, in part by prosecuting those we build cases against.”
District Attorney General William C. Whitesell, Jr. prosecuted the case.
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 1,400 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."