FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN - A Putnam County woman is charged with fraudulently obtaining TennCare benefits by falsely claiming dependents in order to qualify for TennCare benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Tara Michelle Manier, 32, of Cookeville. The Putnam County Sheriff´s Office assisted in this arrest.
Manier has been charged with two counts of TennCare fraud and one count of theft of services. She´s accused of reporting to the state that she had residential custody and control of her minor children in order to receive TennCare benefits.
"The message here is simple - if you lie, cheat, or steal to get TennCare benefits, you risk going to jail," Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. "People who commit TennCare fraud are taking something they are not entitled to, and, they are taking it from all the taxpayers of Tennessee."
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Randall A. York 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, over 1,700 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."