FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Davidson County woman is charged with using her sister’s TennCare card in order to obtain medical benefits she otherwise was not entitled to receive.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of Metro Nashville Police, today announced the arrest of Brenda Joyce Steele, also known as Brenda Joy Steele, 39, of Nashville.
Steele is charged with TennCare fraud, three counts of identity theft, and theft of services. She is accused of using the identification of her sister, a TennCare enrollee, in order to receive TennCare medical assistance benefits.
“People who try to find a way to use the program to pay for medical services they are not entitled to will be caught and prosecuted,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “When the OIG discovers an individual involved in this type of crime they will prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
District Attorney Victor S. Johnson, III will prosecute. If convicted, Steele could serve up to four years per charge for the identity theft charge which is a Class D felony and two years for the TennCare fraud charge, which is a Class E felony.
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, over 1,700 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."