|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Coffee County man accused of getting TennCare benefits he was not entitled to must now repay the state for medical and pharmacy services provided through TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that 44-year old Mitchell William Fried, of Manchester, pleaded guilty to theft of services, a class C felony, and TennCare fraud, a class E felony. He received a three-year judicial diversion, with three years probation and as a condition of probation, he must repay TennCare $11,641.16 for benefits paid on his behalf.
Fried was arrested by the OIG in August 2007, on one count of TennCare fraud and one count of theft of services over $10,000 for concealing from the state the fact that his son no longer resided with him, which made Fried ineligible to receive TennCare benefits.
“People who misrepresent their status – employment, income, dependents - in order to qualify for TennCare are going to be caught and prosecuted,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “TennCare fraud is a felony, and a conviction could mean jail time, paying the state back for any medical services received, and possibly losing TennCare benefits for a period of time, even for those who qualify.”
District Attorney General C. Michael Layne prosecuted this case.
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.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."