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Georgia Woman Must Repay State for TennCare Benefits

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | 08:15am

NASHVILLE, TN – A Georgia woman who had been charged with falsifying statements in order to make herself eligible for TennCare, must now repay the state almost $10,000.

Sandra Morelli, 50, of Norcross, Georgia, has been ordered to repay the state for benefits she received while she was on the program.  Shelby County Criminal Court ordered her to repay a total of $9,830.75 as part of her sentence for charges brought in November 2012 by the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

“The TennCare program is solely for the citizens of the State of Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said.  “Anyone who comes across the state line to fraudulently get these benefits will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

District Attorney General Amy P. Weirich prosecuted this case.

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."

TennCare Fraud | Press Releases