Two Shelby Co. Residents Must Repay TennCare Nearly $50,000

Friday, April 07, 2017 | 2:11pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two people in Shelby County are ordered to repay TennCare after court appearances on TennCare fraud charges. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the court orders; in one case, the restitution is more than $30,000.

Latonya R. Morgan, age 45, of Memphis received three years of judicial diversion and was ordered to repay the state $31,749.32. She was charged in Shelby County with falsely reporting her residency in order to appear eligible for TennCare healthcare insurance benefits. She was actually living in Southaven, Mississippi but has since moved back to Tennessee.

Lee Dowty, 48, of Millington, received ten years of judicial diversion and was ordered to repay the state $17,099.75. Dowty was accused of failing to notify the state when she moved to Arkansas, although she continued to use TennCare benefits.

Distict Attorney General Amy T. Weirich prosecuted both Dowty’s and Morgan’s cases.

“We are intent on preserving the integrity of the TennCare program,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “Just as local police help keep order in our communities, we are working to make sure taxpayer dollars are being spent on people who are truly eligible for TennCare.”

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, 2,811 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.”