Monroe Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Monroe County woman is charged in nearby McMinn County with fraudulently obtaining TennCare benefits by falsely claiming her child as a dependent in order to qualify for the state’s healthcare insurance program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Victoria Ann Hippo, 33, of Madisonville. She is being held in the McMinn County Jail on $15,000 bond.
An indictment accuses Hippo of TennCare fraud and theft of services over $10,000 in connection with concealing material facts regarding her household composition. Hippo fraudulently reported to the state that her minor child lived with her, when authorities say the child was adopted from Hippo shortly after birth. Without a dependent, she was not eligible for TennCare.
“Providing false information in order to personally gain TennCare benefits is a crime,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “The Office of Inspector General works diligently to deter TennCare fraud and to protect its resources.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. heft of services over $10,000 is a Class C felony punishable by up to six years in prison. District Attorney General Stephen Crump 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, 3,020 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.”