Trousdale Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, TN - A Trousdale County woman is charged with TennCare fraud and theft of services after she received healthcare insurance benefits through state’s Medicaid program, even though she was not eligible.
The arrest brings the total number of people arrested for TennCare fraud to 2,000 since the Office of Inspector General (OIG) began investigating and pursuing this criminal activity.
With the Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department, the OIG today announced the arrest of Danna Ann Hawkins, 50, of Hartsville. She is charged with eight counts of TennCare fraud and two counts of theft of services.
The charges against Hawkins state that she claimed a minor child lived in her home in order to be eligible for TennCare. The theft of services charges stem from knowingly and feloniously obtaining services by deception, false pretense or by other means to avoid payment for services.
“We hope those that are abusing the TennCare program are getting the message that we are aggressively pursuing TennCare fraud and making arrests statewide,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We have made 18 arrests this month alone, and we have many more cases in the pipeline.”
District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson will prosecute. If convicted, Hawkins could serve up to four years per charge for the theft of services over $1,000 but under $10,000 which is a Class D felony, the theft of services charge over $10,000 but less than $60,000 is Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison and two years per charge for the TennCare fraud charges, which is a Class E felony.
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, 2,000 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."