|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
SHELBY COUNTY WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Shelby County woman has pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud and theft of services for intentionally under-reporting the household income in order to qualify for TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that 41-year old Latia Becton pleaded guilty to one count of TennCare fraud and one count theft of services. She received a 10-year sentence reduced to supervised probation, and she must repay TennCare for healthcare services the program paid for on her behalf, a total of $17,068.37.
“Any amount of money used to provide services to someone who doesn’t qualify for help is abuse of taxpayer dollars – which come from all of us,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “More than that, people are getting the message that committing TennCare fraud is risky behavior.”
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."