FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2005
GEORGIA WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Georgia woman has pleaded guilty to two
counts of TennCare fraud stemming from charges she listed a post office
box in Tennessee as her address … while her residence was actually
in Georgia. 46-year-old Eddie
Tinker and her husband Gary,
50 – both enrolled as Tennessee residents - were indicted in
Nashville in March 2003 – but when police went to their home
in Georgia to arrest them on TennCare fraud charges, they discovered
a methamphetamine lab.
The Tinkers were charged and convicted of criminal attempt to manufacture
and possession of meth. Gary Tinker is serving a 15-to-25-year sentence
on the meth charges, while his wife has been paroled.
The Office of TennCare Inspector General (OIG) says the TennCare
fraud charges have now been processed against Mrs. Tinker. The State
says the couple “willfully and knowingly providing false information
to the TennCare Bureau” on their TennCare application. The Tinkers
listed a post office box in Whiteside, Tennessee as their address
when their home was in Trenton, Georgia.
Eddie Tinker waived extradition to Tennessee and pleaded guilty this
week in Davidson County Criminal Court to the TennCare fraud charges.
Tinker was sentenced to two years on the TennCare fraud charges and
six years on a charge of theft of services. The sentences, to be served
concurrently, were suspended with supervised probation. As a condition
of her probation, she must repay the State $11,552.36 and cannot enroll
in TennCare for five years, even if she were a resident of Tennessee
and eligible for TennCare.
“When people cross state lines to enroll in TennCare, they’re
taking services away from Tennesseans who may need health care insurance,”
Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “When Tennesseans hear
about anyone crossing state lines to enroll in TennCare, we need to
know about it so we can take them off TennCare and put them in prison.”
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.”
TennCare is the state’s managed care health insurance program
for 1.3 million people who are poor, disabled or uninsured.