FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Georgia woman is charged with TennCare fraud in an indictment accusing her of falsely reporting her income to the state in order to obtain TennCare benefits. The charges are based on activities that occurred when she lived in Tennessee.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Polk County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Office today announced the arrest of Virginia Carter, 46, of Mineral Bluff, Georgia. She turned herself in to police in Polk County.
Carter is charged with three counts of TennCare fraud and theft of services in an indictment accusing her of not disclosing her true income to the state in order to get TennCare healthcare insurance benefits. Her actual income was outside the limits for TennCare enrollment.
“People who commit TennCare fraud are stealing from taxpayers, it’s that simple,” Acting Inspector General Robert White said. “People involved in any kind of TennCare fraud are exposed to the high probability of getting caught and going to jail."
Illegally obtaining TennCare benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison per charge. The theft of services charge is a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison. District Attorney General Stephen Crump 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, 2,153 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."