COUPLE CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD PLEAD GUILTY
AGREE TO REPAY STATE FOR TENNCARE BENEFITS USED
NASHVILLE, TN – A Hickman County couple today pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud, agreeing to repay the state for medical benefits they used while they were on the program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the indictment and plea entered by Raymond C. Tidwell, 44, and his wife Teresa, 49, both from Hickman County. Governor Phil Bredesen created the OIG, one of the first units of its kind in the nation, in 2004. Since it became operational in February 2005, 295 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
The Tidwells pleaded guilty in Hickman Circuit Court to one count each of TennCare fraud. The indictment accused both Tidwell of making false statements to the Department of Human Services in order to obtain their TennCare benefits at a lower monthly premium. The Tidwells enrolled in TennCare before the program was reformed, which tightened eligibility, preventing similar crimes.
Raymond Tidwell received a one year suspended sentence, with one year probation. Teresa Tidwell received a pre-trial diversion which means she will not be prosecuted if the Tidwells repay the state, in one payment, a total of $21,750 and Teresa is also on one year of probation.
“We will prosecute both husband and wife when an investigation points to both individuals, no matter who completes the TennCare application,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We intend to make sure everyone on TennCare is eligible for TennCare. ”
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.tncarefraud.tennessee.govand follow the prompts that read “Report Fraud Now.”