|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Two women in Washington County are named in an indictment after one of them allowed the other to use her TennCare benefits to obtain medical services.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Elizabeth Peare, 32, of Johnson City. She faces one count of TennCare fraud for allowing the unlawful use of her identity in order for another person to obtain medical services to be paid for by TennCare. The person who received the services, 20-year-old Hawa Adams of Johnson City, has also been charged.
Adams allegedly went to a medical facility and attempted to use Peare’s benefits to pay for services valued less than $10,000. Both Peare and Adams were in a Washington County court on related charges when they were served with the TennCare fraud indictments.
"Insurance benefits are non-transferable, especially when a taxpayer-funded program is paying the bill,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. "When we find people doing so, we will pursue criminal charges to the full extent of the law."
If convicted both Peare and Adams could serve up to two years for TennCare fraud, a Class E felony. District Attorney General Anthony Clark will prosecute.
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 1,100 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."