White Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A White County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with fraudulently claiming that she was pregnant in order to be eligible for TennCare benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the White County Sheriff’s Office, announced the arrest of Tonya Gist, 34, of Sparta.
Gist has been charged with two counts of TennCare fraud and theft of services. An indictment accuses her of fraudulently submitting a positive pregnancy test in order to be eligible for TennCare benefits.
“It’s a simple message that we are carrying across the state - if you lie, cheat or steal to get TennCare benefits, you risk going to jail or prison,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said.
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Theft of services over $1,000 is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison. District Attorney General Bryant C. Dunaway is prosecuting.
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, 2,267 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."