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Putnam County Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud

Monday, October 15, 2012 | 09:22am

NASHVILLE, TN – A Putnam County woman is charged with attempting to use her sister’s TennCare benefits to obtain dental services.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Miranda Michelle Lack, 24, of Baxter, after a joint investigation with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

The arrest warrant charges Lack with TennCare fraud and identity theft.   She is accused of signing in at a local dental office under her sister’s name, and attempting to use her sister’s TennCare medical benefits.  This was apparently the third time at the same dental office that the suspect tried to use her sister’s card.  Dental benefits are available only to members under 21 years of age in TennCare; dental services for adults are not covered by TennCare.

“The bottom line is that people who aren’t eligible for TennCare cannot use TennCare benefits assigned to another person, even a family member,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Falkner said.  “These actions will be discovered and the OIG will prosecute anyone determined to be defrauding the TennCare program.”

Identity theft is a Class D felony that carries a maximum of four years in prison.  Attempting to fraudulently obtain TennCare medical assistance benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. District Attorney Randall A. York will prosecute.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures.  To date, over 1,700 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."