Shelby Co. Man Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Shelby County man has been charged with TennCare fraud and theft of property.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Terry Thomas, 52, of Memphis. The arrest is the result of a joint effort with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department Fugitive Unit. He’s charged with two counts of obtaining benefits through TennCare although he did not qualify for the state health insurance program, and one count of theft of property over $10,000.
Investigators say Thomas reported the mother of his dependent child did not live in his household, although evidence shows otherwise. This allowed him to avoid reporting the mother’s income, which would have disqualified him for TennCare.
“We are committed to saving taxpayers’ dollars, both state and federal, by investigating persons who provide false information to get TennCare,” Inspector Kim Harmon said. “The Office of Inspector General pursues both criminal and civil justice in these types of cases.”
If convicted Mr. Thomas could face penalties of up to 14-years in prison for the charges, which include two class D felonies for TennCare fraud and a class C felony for the theft of property over $10,000.00.
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, 3,120 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/oig/ and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”