|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Knox County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in an indictment accusing her of not telling the truth to the state, in order to get TennCare healthcare insurance benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Lori N. Sharp, also known as Lori Nicole Lister, 34, of Knoxville. The arrest was assisted by the Knox County’s Sheriff’s Office.
Sharp is accused of five counts of TennCare fraud and one count of theft of property. Charges against her say that from April 2008, through April 2010, she received medical services paid for by TennCare, even though she wasn’t eligible for the program … and that she gained access to TennCare by willfully giving false information, false representation, concealment of a material fact and by fraudulent means.
“It’s a simple message that we are carrying across the state - if you lie, cheat or steal to get TennCare benefits, you risk going to jail or prison AND having to repay TennCare for the services you’ve received,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “People who commit TennCare fraud are taking something they’re not entitled to, and that’s stealing from the public.”
If convicted, Sharp could serve up to four years per charge for the theft of services charge which is a Class D felony and two years for the TennCare fraud charge per charge, which is a Class E felony. District Attorney General Randall Nichols 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, nearly 1,500 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."