|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Davidson County woman is charged with committing fraud to get herself added the TennCare public health program even though she wasn’t eligible.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) along with assistance from Metro Nashville Police today announced the arrest of Vickie Gwen Townsend, 38, of Madison. Townsend has been charged with five counts of TennCare fraud by means of willfully making false statements or concealing material facts to get her name added to the rolls of the health insurance program.
“We have open cases in almost every county in Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We are committed to stopping the abuse of the TennCare program and we will continue to take a zero tolerance approach toward people who commit these crimes.”
The TennCare fraud charges against Townsend could result in a two year sentence per charge, if convicted. District Attorney General Victor S. Johnson, III “Torry” is prosecuting.
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 1,240 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."