Mississippi Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud

Tuesday, August 09, 2022 | 12:01pm
Caucasian woman mug shot

NASHVILLE – A woman living in Horn Lake, Mississippi is charged with TennCare fraud and theft of property across the Tennessee state line in Memphis.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), in a joint effort with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of 60-year-old Starlotte Smith. Investigators say Smith allegedly failed to inform TennCare that she moved out of state while she continued to use TennCare health insurance for healthcare services for herself and her daughter. As a result, TennCare paid more than $49,300 in fees and claims on their behalf.

“This case is another example of how Tennessean taxpayer dollars are diverted by those who break the rules and commit crimes against TennCare,” Inspector General Chad Holman said.  “We will continue to hold accountable people who abuse the TennCare system.”

The TennCare fraud charge is a class D felony, and theft of property is a class C felony.  The case is being prosecuted by Shelby County District Attorney General Amy P. Weirich.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has identified and investigated more than 130,349 potential fraud cases leading to more than $9.2 million being repaid to TennCare.  In the last year ending June 30, 2021, the total estimated cost avoidance was more than $7.5 million. TennCare's budget is comprised of both federal and state dollars. To date, 3,176 people of been charged with TennCare fraud.

The OIG’s “Most Wanted” list can be located online at https://www.tn.gov/finance/fa-oig/fa-oig-most-wanted.html. Anyone with information about a wanted subject is urged to use the contact information on the page.

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.”