TWO PUTNAM CO. RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE – Two people in Putnam County have been charged with TennCare fraud, including a woman accused of “hiding” a family member’s assets so TennCare would pay for the woman’s nursing home care. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrests, made after a Putnam County Grand Jury issued indictments against each individual.
Governor Phil Bredesen created the Office of Inspector General, one of the first units of its kind in the nation, in 2004. Since it became operational in February 2005, 244 people have been charged with TennCare fraud, leading to 59 convictions for TennCare fraud and 14 cases resolved.
Brenda Rich, 55, of Cookeville was named in a two-count indictment charging that, while acting as power-of-attorney for a family member, she concealed assets that would keep the person from being eligible for TennCare. The fraud charge includes over $10,000 in medical benefits illegally obtained through TennCare.
“While TennCare provides specialized care for low-income people who are eligible, there are many creative schemes others are using to get health care benefits they may not be entitled to,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re putting the message out there that it’s simply not legal to hide assets so that taxpayers pick up a person’s health care bill.”
If convicted, Rich could be sentenced to up to six years on the Class C felony charge of theft of services and two years on the Class E felony charge of fraudulently obtaining TennCare services. Putnam County District Attorney William E. Gibson will be prosecuting the case.
In an unrelated case, Carl G. Harris, 58, of Silver Point is charged in a two-count theft indictment with obtaining TennCare by intentionally not reporting that he could get insurance through his employer. The value of the TennCare benefits unlawfully obtained is more than $60,000. In addition, Harris is charged with felony TennCare fraud by concealing the fact that while employed he had been offered health insurance through his employer.
The theft charge is a Class B felony, punishable by up to twelve years in prison and the TennCare fraud charge is a Class E felony, punishable by up to two years in prison. Bond was set at $ 5,000. Putnam County District Attorney Bill Gibson is prosecuting.
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.”