WOMAN FROM GEORGIA CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE – A Georgia woman has been arrested for receiving TennCare medical benefits and food stamps for herself and her family from Tennessee.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office today announced the arrest of Sherry Varner, 33, on a Hamilton County indictment.
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, 271 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
Varner is accused of getting TennCare for herself and her family from 2002 until 2005, when stricter requirements were placed on the program. They allegedly presented the state with a Tennessee address to enroll in TennCare while they were actually living in Georgia. Varner is also charged with making false statements. An investigator with the Department of Human Services (DHS) worked on the case, obtaining more charges for food stamp fraud - fraudulent receipt of food assistance and fraudulent receipt of temporary assistance.
“While the rules have changed that make TennCare more restrictive today, we continue to look for people who misrepresented themselves to get medical benefits paid for by TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re working with Human Services and other agencies that provide benefits to eligible Tennesseans – and people who know of anyone getting benefits they’re not eligible for now have in the OIG a place to report that information and get results.”
District Attorney William Cox will prosecute. If convicted, Varner could face up to six years on the theft of services charge, a class C felony, and two years on the TennCare fraud charge, a class E felony.
Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or log on to www.tennessee.gov/tenncare and follow the prompts that read “Report Fraud Now.”