Four TennCare Fraud Cases Equal Restitution of Over $40,000

Monday, March 06, 2017 | 2:08pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Residents of Blount, Putnam, Lawrence and Weakley Counties are each ordered to repay the state in plea agreements resulting from TennCare fraud charges brought by the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

In Blount County, Kelli S. Lee, 39 of Maryville, received three years judicial diversion and was ordered to repay a total of $17,664.90. She was charged in August of 2016 with failing to report her income and marriage to the state in order to illegally obtain TennCare benefits. District Attorney General Mike Flynn prosecuted the case.

Clara Clark Shockley, 35, of Cookeville, received three years judicial diversion and was ordered to repay the state a total of $16,931.74. She was charged in Putnam County last June with falsely reporting her income to the state, which made her appear eligible for TennCare benefits, although she was not. District Attorney General Bryant C. Dunaway prosecuted the case.

Crystal D. Dickey, 33, of Lawrenceburg, received two years in prison suspended to two years supervised probation and she must repay the state $2,976.00 in restitution. Dickey was accused of failing to disclose her household composition and income, which made her appear eligible for TennCare. She was also indicted for TennCare fraud in Giles County, where that case is pending. District Attorney General Brent Cooper prosecuted the case.

Jessica Jett, 38, of Martin, received two years suspended to two years in community corrections and must repay the state $3,000.  Jett was accused of fraudulently claimed her minor child as a dependent in order to be eligible for TennCare benefits. District Attorney General Thomas A. Thomas prosecuted the case.

“Part of our mission is to help preserve the integrity of the TennCare program,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We do so by vigorously prosecuting anyone who uses or attempts to use the program for unlawful purposes.”

TennCare fraud is now a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,804 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 visit the website and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”