|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
MONDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Rutherford County woman is accused of falsely reporting her income in order to enroll in TennCare and receive healthcare insurance benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Lakesha Bunch, 33, of Murfreesboro, for TennCare fraud and theft of services. She is accused of making false statements regarding her household income which, if correctly reported, would have made her ineligible to receive TennCare benefits.
“Our message is simple - if you lie, cheat or steal to get TennCare benefits, you risk going to jail or prison,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “In addition to that, you could be forced to pay back the state for benefits received while on the program.”
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."