|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
MCMINN COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A McMinn County resident has been indicted for TennCare fraud.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Sharon G. Vasquez, 54, of Athens. Vasques turned herself into the McMinn County Sheriff’s Office. She is charged with one count of TennCare fraud for fraudulently obtaining TennCare medical assistance which she did not qualify for.
“Zero tolerance for fraud or abuse in TennCare is the standard set by Governor Phil Bredesen – and we are aggressively enforcing it,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We intend to help the governor preserve TennCare for people who are truly eligible.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Steven Bibb is prosecuting.
The OIG, a law enforcement agency separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has worked cases leading to the arrest of over 830 individuals for TennCare fraud, with nearly $1 million paid in restitution to TennCare, and total estimated cost avoidance in TennCare of over $122 million, according to latest figures.
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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."