|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A woman from Alabama is charged today with claiming she lived in Tennessee in order to enroll in TennCare – and it’s her second arrest for TennCare fraud.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 40-year old Vicki Hookey, who was indicted by a Marion County Grand Jury. Hookey’s arrest was assisted by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Hookey is accused of making deliberate false statements regarding her address and state of residence during her TennCare eligibility review so that she could remain on the TennCare program, even thought she lives in Alabama. She is charged with fraudulently obtaining TennCare benefits.
Hookey was previously arrested by the OIG in April of last year for one count of TennCare fraud for obtaining a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone by means of a false statement.
“We will continue to pursue cases of people who misrepresent their residency, employment, income or marital status get or retain TennCare health insurance benefits,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said.
District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor will prosecute the case against Hookey. If convicted, Hookey could face imprisonment for a total of two years.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.6 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $159 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures.
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 log on to www.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."