|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE –A Lauderdale County woman is charged with TennCare Fraud for allowing her sister to use her TennCare benefits to obtain dental services. Her sister has also been charged.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Terri T. Copeland, 20, of Ripley. She was indicted in both Lauderdale and Tipton County and charged with one count of TennCare fraud in each incident for allowing the unlawful use of her identity that was used to obtain dental services and a prescription for Penicillin paid for by TennCare. Also indicted was 29-year-old, Keosha Johnson, of Ripley, who was the recipient of the dental services. A Tipton County Grand Jury indicted Johnson for one count of TennCare fraud.
The Tipton County indictment says Johnson presented herself as her sister in order to obtain dental work which was billed to and paid for by TennCare. In Lauderdale County, officials say she obtained a prescription from a pharmacy in Ripley, which was billed and paid for by TennCare.
"It is particularly troubling when someone who is not eligible for TennCare tries to find a way to use the program to pay for medical services," Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. "When we find people doing so, we will prosecute them."
If convicted, both Copeland and Johnson could serve up to two years for TennCare fraud. District Attorney General D. Michael Dunavant will prosecute.
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 1,600 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."