FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – An Obion County man is charged in McNairy County with TennCare fraud for falsely reporting his income in order to obtain TennCare benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Charles E. Oathout, 43, of Union City. He is charged with TennCare fraud and theft of services in McNairy County, where a Grand Jury issued the charges last month. Oathout fled the state and was found residing in Alcorn County, Mississippi. Once he was located, he was returned to Tennessee to be served with the charges.
Oathout is accused of failing to disclose his income to the state in order to obtain TennCare healthcare insurance benefits on behalf of himself and his children.
“We will look until we find people charged with TennCare fraud, so that justice can be served,” Acting Inspector General Robert White said. “People who misrepresent their income in order to gain TennCare insurance are committing a serious crime, and they will be prosecuted.”
If convicted, Oathout could be sentenced to up to four years on the Class D felony theft of services charge, and two years on the Class E felony TennCare fraud charge. District Attorney General Michael Dunavant will be prosecuting.
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, 2,136 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."