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Two Shelby County Women Charged with TennCare Fraud

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 | 09:44am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two women in Shelby County are charged in separate cases of TennCare fraud.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), assisted by Memphis Police, today announced the arrest of Kizzy McKinnie, 39, of Memphis and Shaneka Blakely, 25, of West Memphis, Arkansas.

McKinnie is charged in a Shelby County indictment with obtaining benefits through TennCare by fraudulent means, even though she didn’t qualify for the program.

Blakely is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud and theft of property over $10,000 in connection with intentionally and unlawfully obtaining TennCare through fraudulent activity in order to avoid payment for medical services.

“The message is simple: if you lie, cheat or steal to get TennCare benefits, you risk criminal prosecution,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “People who commit TennCare fraud are taking something they are not entitled to and they will be stopped and arrested by law enforcement.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison.  Theft of property over $10,000 is a Class C felony punishable by up to six years in prison.  District Attorney General Amy T. Weirich is prosecuting.

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, 2,589 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.

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.”