Rhea County Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– A Rhea County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for falsely reporting her income and household composition in order to obtain TennCare benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Kayla Hickman, 27, of Dayton. She is charged with TennCare fraud and theft of services over $10,000 for allegedly failing to report that the father of her two children lived in her home and contributed to the household income. Both factors made her ineligible for TennCare.
“Tennessee citizens are easily angered when people abuse federal and state tax dollars intended to help those in need,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “We appreciate the assistance of the local law enforcement in coordinating the arrest in this case.”
TennCare fraud is now a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison. Theft of services over $10,000 is a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison. District Attorney General Mike Taylor 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, 3,077 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.”