|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
TIPTON CO. WOMAN - AND HER MOTHER-IN-LAW - ARE CHARGED IN TENNCARE FRAUD CASE
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Tipton County woman has been arrested for allegedly lying to the state in order to obtain TennCare healthcare benefits and food stamps; her mother-in-law is accused of aiding and abetting in her illegal conduct.
Lana Jo Ralph was charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of food stamp fraud. According to the indictment, she willfully made false statements by presenting false information to the Tennessee Department of Human Services regarding her husband’s income in order to obtain benefits for herself and her three children.
Donna E. Ralph was charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of food stamp fraud. The indictment alleges she committed the offense of aiding and abetting Lana Jo Ralph to fraudulently obtain TennCare and food stamp benefits by presenting false information to the Tennessee Department of Human Services regarding Lana Jo Ralph’s husband income.
“It’s troubling that anyone with other resources attempt to be enrolled in a program meant for people who truly need healthcare benefits through TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We are pursuing and prosecuting these cases across the state.”
The TennCare fraud charges against both could result in a two year sentence, if convicted. District Attorney General Michael Dunavant 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 1,050 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."