FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Campbell County woman is charged in Scott County with falsely reporting her assets in order to qualify for TennCare healthcare insurance benefits, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, previously known as food stamps.)
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Teresa Jean Willoughby, 43, of Pioneer. She is charged with TennCare fraud, SNAP fraud, two counts of theft of services and perjury.
The charges against Willoughby are in connection with falsely reporting her resources and assets to the Department of Human Services in order to render herself eligible for both TennCare and SNAP.
“People who misrepresent themselves to obtain benefits preserved for people who qualify for help are stealing from state taxpayers, plain and simple,” Acting Inspector General Robert White said. “Regardless of income, status or history, if a person is committing TennCare fraud, we’re committed to catching it and prosecuting.”
If convicted, Willoughby could be sentenced to up to four years per charge on the Class D felony theft of services, and an additional two years per charge on the Class E felony TennCare and SNAP fraud charges. District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones is 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, 2,141 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."