|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
HAWKINS COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Hawkins County woman is charged with TennCare fraud, accused of lying in order to obtain TennCare medical assistance benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Wendy C. Barrett, 33, of Church Hill. The arrest was assisted by the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department.
Barrett is accused in an indictment of one count of TennCare fraud for obtaining TennCare benefits by claiming two minor children as members of her household, when custody of both children has been awarded to her ex-husband.
“There may have been a time when people could get by with lying to obtain TennCare benefits, but Governor Bredesen put a stop to TennCare fraud,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “People who misrepresent themselves to qualify for TennCare are getting caught and prosecuted, and it could mean losing TennCare or losing freedom.”
If convicted, Barrett could be sentenced up to two years on charge, a class E felony. District Attorney General C. Berkeley Bell will prosecute.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,000 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."