|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Rutherford County woman is charged with stealing the identity of a TennCare enrollee in order to obtain medical services through TennCare as payment.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Christy White-Hathaway, 51, of Murfreesboro. This arrest was a joint effort with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.
White-Hathaway was arrested on an indictment of identity theft for knowingly using the personal information of another TennCare enrollee to obtain medical services paid for by TennCare. She is also charged with two counts of TennCare fraud. The indictment alleges that she impersonated a TennCare enrollee to receive emergency treatment at Murfreesboro medical clinic to obtain a prescription for the painkiller hydrocodone, so that TennCare would pay for the visit and the drugs.
“People who are seeking addictive painkillers are sometimes desperate in their attempts to obtain the drugs,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “But we’ve been working with doctors and pharmacists so that they are more aware of some of the tactics and so they know we can act quickly when they suspect TennCare fraud.”
TennCare fraud is a class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. Identity theft is a class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years per charge in prison. District Attorney General William Whitesell, Jr. will be prosecuting.
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 $165 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 920 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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."