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Obion Co. Man Convicted of TennCare Fraud, Must Repay State

Monday, January 26, 2015 | 12:00am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An Obion County man charged in McNairy County with falsely reporting his income in order to qualify for TennCare has been sentenced to repay the state for healthcare insurance benefits he received during the time he was on the program.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that 43-year old Charles E. Oathout, of Union City, pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud and theft of services.  In exchange for his plea, he is ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $6,218.84 to TennCare.  Oathout was placed on supervised probation for two years.

“Anyone considering abusing TennCare by misrepresenting themselves to enroll in the program should consider the repercussions of their actions,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We are aggressively pursuing TennCare fraud tips, and with the assistance of local law enforcement agencies, bringing people to justice for committing TennCare fraud.”  

Oathout was in June of last year when he was accused of obtainng TennCare medical assistance benefits by falsely reporting his income in order to be eligible.  When the indictment was issued, fled the state and was found to be residing in Alcorn County, Mississippi.  Once the McNairy County Sheriff’s Office located Oathout he was extradited from Mississippi back to McNairy County. District Attorney General Michael Dunavant prosecuted this case.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $5 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $176 million for TennCare, according to latest figures.  To date, 2,268 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 Office of Inspector General and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."