|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Rutherford County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for gaining access to the program – and healthcare benefits – even though she was not eligible for the benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Crystal Spain, 35, of Smyrna. Her arrest was assisted by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.
Spain is charged with TennCare fraud, accused of obtaining TennCare medical assistance benefits she was not entitled to. The charges say she received medical services from a series of physicians by representing herself to be pregnant although she was not.
“Tennesseans have said clearly want TennCare fraud eliminated from the program, and we are committed to fulfilling that intent,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Every person who commits TennCare fraud has used taxpayer money in a way it was not intended.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General William C. Whitesell, Jr., 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."