Two Charged with TennCare Fraud in Southeast TN
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two people in southeast Tennessee are charged with TennCare fraud in separate cases – one involving a suspect who evaded authorities for over a year.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Hamilton and Bradley County Sheriff’s Offices, today announced the arrests of Angela D. Bradford, 42, of Oglethorpe, Georgia and Amber Ridley, 34, of Cleveland.
Ridley was indicted in June of 2016 and after being on the run for 14 months, she’s been booked for TennCare fraud, theft of services over $10,000 and theft of services over $1,000. The indictment accuses her of unlawfully obtaining medical assistance benefits for herself and her underage child by claiming the child was a dependent. Authorities later learned the child actually had been adopted by and lived with a family in New York. District Attorney General Stephen D. Crump will be prosecuting this case.
A separate indictment in Hamilton County accuses Angela Bradford, also known as Angela D. Gentry or Angela William, of falsely claiming her two children as household members, allowing her husband and her two sons to fraudulently obtain TennCare benefits. She is charged with TennCare fraud and theft of services over $10,000. She turned herself in to authorities at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. District Attorney General Neal Pinkston will be prosecuting this case
“Prior to 2005, local police, healthcare providers and others suspected these kind of incidences, but had no one to track down information,” Inspector Manny Tyndall said. “We are indebted to local police and communities for helping us preserve TennCare for people who need the program.”
TennCare fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison. Theft of services over $10,000 is a Class C felony punishable by up to six 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, 2,895 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.”