FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Lawrence County man is charged with TennCare fraud for obtaining medical treatment and using his son’s TennCare benefits as payment for services for himself.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), along with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of 33-year old David Wayne Byrd, Sr., of Westpoint.
Byrd is charged with 14 counts of TennCare fraud, 14 counts of identity theft, and five counts of theft of services in amounts from $500 to $60,000. Byrd is accused of obtained medical assistance benefits for himself at Crockett General Hospital and through several other providers using his child’s TennCare card to pay for the services.
“The Office of Inspector General is pursuing cases in all 95 Tennessee counties,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We are committed to stopping TennCare fraud and the people who are involved in it.”
Identity theft is a Class D felony that carries a maximum of four years in prison per charge. Illegally obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison per charge. Theft of Services over $10,000 is a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison. District Attorney Mike Bottoms will prosecute.
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."