Brownsville Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A woman from Brownsville, Tenn., is charged with TennCare fraud and identity theft for allowing another person to use her TennCare card to receive dental benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), in a joint effort with the Brownsville Police Department today announced the arrest of Tamaria Whitley, age 21, of Brownsville for TennCare Fraud and identity theft, both of which are class D felonies. TennCare provides for dental services for children under 21 years of age and authorities say the alleged crimes happened before Whitley was 21.
Whitley is accused of knowingly allowing another individual who was not enrolled in TennCare to use her TennCare card to receive dental benefits on 12 separate occasions, totaling approximately $7,500.00 paid on her behalf.
“The TennCare program is designed to provide benefits for individuals that need the services and medications provided through the proper and legal avenues,” Inspector Kim Harmon said. “The OIG appreciates local law enforcement in our continued collaboration to protect the Tennessee taxpayer’s money.”
If convicted, Whitley could face penalties of up to a maximum of 24 years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney Jody Pickens of Madison County.
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, 3,132 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 or by logging on to www.tn.gov/oig/ and following the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”