Davidson Co. Woman Convicted of TennCare Fraud

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 | 11:42am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Davidson County woman is ordered to repay the state’s TennCare program after pleading guilty to TennCare fraud in Rutherford County.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced sentencing for Erica Batten, 35, of Nashville. She’s been ordered to make restitution to the state in the amount of $18,670.75 plus $200 in fines and court costs, and received an eight year judicial diversion sentence. Judicial diversion is a program for first-time offenders where they serve no jail time and all records of the proceedings are destroyed once the conditions of the sentence are met.

Batten was charged in October of last year with TennCare fraud and theft of services, based on allegations that she purposefully did not report income to the state in order to qualify for TennCare. She pleaded guilty to both counts. District Attorney Jennings H. Jones prosecuted the case.

“Purposefully withholding income information in order to obtain TennCare is stealing services that belong to people who are truly needy and eligible for the program,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We will continue to prosecute people who falsely report information in order to fraudulently obtain benefits.”

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,504 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 go to https://www.tn.gov/tnoig.