Sullivan Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, TN - A Sullivan County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for fraudulently claiming she was pregnant in order to be eligible for TennCare healthcare insurance benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance from Kingsport Police, today announced the arrest of Kristy Dawn Kindle, 37, of Kingsport.
She is charged with TennCare fraud, perjury and seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The indictment accuses Kindle of fraudulently claiming she was pregnant in order to be eligible for TennCare benefits. As a result, she obtained the opiate painkiller Buprenorphine, a Schedule III controlled substance, which was paid for by her TennCare benefits.
“We’re working hard to help get prescription drugs off the street,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “When TennCare benefits are used to purchase and distribute prescription drugs, we have a good chance to bust that crime.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Obtaining a Schedule III controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Barry P. Staubus is prosecuting.
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 1,900 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."