FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Humphreys County woman is charged for the second time with fraudulently obtaining TennCare benefits by falsely claiming children in the home in order to qualify for TennCare benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Lisa A. Herlein, 39, of McEwen. A Wilson County Grand Jury has charged her with TennCare fraud and theft of services over $10,000. She’s accused of claiming that two of her minor children lived with her as dependents when that was untrue, as the children were living with another family member.
Herlein was first arrested by the OIG in December of last year, when she was charged in Humphreys County with two counts of TennCare fraud. That time, she was accused with concealing material facts in order to obtain TennCare benefits and making false statements during the investigation. In addition, she was charged with theft of services over $10,000 for obtaining services by deception, fraud, coercion, false pretense or other means to avoid payment for services.
“It is a simple - if you lie, cheat or steal to get TennCare benefits, you risk going to jail,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “People who commit TennCare fraud are taking something they are not entitled to, and they are taking it from all the taxpayers of Tennessee.”
The TennCare fraud charge carries up to a two-year sentence, and the theft of services charge could result in a sentence up to six years. District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson is prosecuting the Wilson County 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 1,900 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."