|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
TWO PEOPLE IN MEMPHIS CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two Memphis residents are charged with TennCare fraud in separate cases. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrests, which were assisted by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. One of the arrests involves charges stemming from a person getting and using TennCare benefits even though she was not eligible for TennCare. The other unrelated arrest involves a person using TennCare to pay for a fraudulent prescription for a painkiller.
The two arrests are:
“TennCare fraud crosses all social, economic and professional lines,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “The common link is that people committing TennCare fraud are taking something they’re not entitled to, and they’re taking it from all the taxpayers of Tennessee.”
District Attorney General William L. Gibbons will prosecute both cases. If convicted, both Thomas and Beard could serve up to two years for TennCare fraud which is a class E felony. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a class D felony, for which Beard could serve up to four years. The additional theft of services charge against Thomas is a class C felony, carrying a possible sentence of three to six years.
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."