FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Jefferson County woman is charged with TennCare fraud and food stamp fraud in connection with falsely reporting her assets in order to qualify for both programs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Shonda Griffin, 33, of White Pine. She is charged with TennCare fraud, food stamp fraud, and two counts of theft of services.
The charges against Griffin are in connection with falsely reporting her assets to the state in order to obtain TennCare healthcare insurance and food stamp benefits that she would otherwise not be eligible for.
"It´s a simple message that we are carrying across the state - misrepresenting your income in order to get TennCare will land you in jail or prison," Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. "People who commit TennCare fraud are taking something they´re not entitled to, and we are fully pursuing these cases across the state."
If convicted, Griffin could be sentenced to up to four years for the Class D felony theft of services charge, and two years on the TennCare fraud and food stamp fraud charge, both being Class E felonies. ADA Chuck Murphy is prosecuting this case on behalf of District Attorney General James Dunn.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, 2,094 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 log on to www.tn.gov/tnoig/ and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."