|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Shelby County Grand Jury has charged a Georgia resident with TennCare fraud and theft of property.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Sandra Morelli, 50 of Norcross, Georgia. The arrest is the result of an effort with the Gwinnett County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
Morelli is charged with TennCare fraud and theft of property, with the indictment accusing her of falsifying statements in order to appear eligible for TennCare healthcare insurance benefits.
“The TennCare program is solely for the citizens of the State of Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Anyone who comes across the state line to fraudulently get these benefits will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
District Attorney General Amy P. Weirich is prosecuting this case. TennCare fraud is a Class E felony that carries up to a two year sentence. The theft of property charge is a Class D Felony with a possible sentence of two to four years per charge.
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."