|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE– A Madison County woman has been sentenced in McNairy County after pleading guilty to TennCare fraud.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced that Jalesha Lashae Heard, 41, of Bethel Springs, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of TennCare fraud and two counts of theft of services. The charges accused her of falsely reporting the number of children in her home, which qualified her for TennCare while the facts would have prevented her from obtaining healthcare insurance benefits through TennCare.
Heard is on probation for one year, and must repay TennCare over $1,600. She also will not be able to apply for TennCare benefits in the future. District Attorney General Michael Dunavant prosecuted this case.
"We are working hard to press charges against anyone misusing TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “People are getting the message that Tennessee is pursuing TennCare fraud with a full court approach."
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."