Mississippi Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– A Southaven, Mississippi woman is charged with TennCare fraud for falsely reporting that she was living in Tennessee in order to obtain benefits from the taxpayer-funded healthcare insurance program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of sheriff’s officers Shelby County and Desoto County, Mississippi today announced the arrest of Mekila Stokes-Reece, 35, of Southaven, Mississippi. She is charged in an indictment with TennCare fraud and theft of property over $10,000 for reporting to the state that she lived in Tennessee when she was actually residing in Southaven, Mississippi.
“TennCare benefits are reserved for residents of Tennessee, who have been helpful in helping us identify and pursue these types of crimes,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “If you know of or suspect fraudulent use of TennCare benefits, contact the OIG hotline, 800-433-3982.”
District Attorney General Amy P. Weirich is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison per charge. Theft of services over $10,000 is a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison.
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, 3,072 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.”