FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Franklin County woman has been ordered to repay the state for healthcare insurance benefits she received through TennCare, even though she was not eligible for TennCare.
Wendy Farrell, 37, of Estill Springs, was ordered by a Rutherford County court to repay the TennCare a total of $25,041.80, after she pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud, a Class E felony, and felony theft of services. She also received four years’ probation.
The Office of Inspector (OIG) brought the charges against Farrell in February for falsely claiming dependents in her household, which would have made her ineligible for TennCare.
“People who misrepresent something about their current situation in order to qualify for TennCare are going to get caught and prosecuted,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “TennCare fraud is a felony, and a conviction could mean jail time and paying back the state for any medical services received.”
District Attorney General William C. Whitesell, Jr., prosecuted this case.
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, 2,111 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."