|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Knox County woman is charged with TennCare fraud and theft of property after she unlawfully received healthcare benefits from the TennCare public healthcare insurance program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Ashley Leigh Anne Tippens, also known as both Ashley Votaw and Ashley Page, 36, of Powell. She is charged with 17 counts of TennCare fraud and five counts of theft of property. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office assisted the OIG with Tippens' arrest.
The charges against Tippens accuse her of receiving TennCare benefits by means of willfully false statement or other fraudulent means from October 2008 and May 2012.
“People who misrepresent themselves in order to qualify for TennCare are going to be caught and prosecuted,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “TennCare fraud is a felony and a conviction could mean jail time.”
The TennCare fraud charge carries up to a two-year sentence per charge, and the theft of property charge could result in a sentence up to 4 years per charge. District Attorney General Randall Nichols is prosecuting.
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 1,700 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."