FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – An Arkansas woman is charged with misrepresenting her residency – claiming to live in Tennessee - in order to obtain TennCare healthcare insurance benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the arrest Friday of Monique A. Jones, 26, of West Memphis, Arkansas. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department assisted with this arrest.
Jones was the 46th arrest for the month of June – a record for the OIG.
She is charged in a Shelby County indictment with TennCare fraud and theft of property over $10,000. Charges accuse her of falsely claiming to reside in Tennessee, while actually maintaining her residence in Arkansas.
“The Office of Inspector General will prosecute anyone we find who misrepresents their income, address or employment to gain TennCare benefits,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “TennCare fraud is a serious crime with fairly stringent repercussions.”
The TennCare fraud charge against Jones could result in a two year sentence, if convicted. Theft of property over $10,000 is a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison. District Attorney General J. Amy P. Weirich is prosecuting.
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."