Sullivan Co. Man Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, TN - A Sullivan County man is charged with fraudulently obtaining TennCare benefits by falsely claiming a child in the home in order to qualify for TennCare healthcare insurance benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the arrest of George Dease, Jr., 39, of Kingsport. The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and the Kingsport Police Department assisted in the arrest.
Dease is charged with TennCare fraud and two counts of theft of services in connection with falsely claiming his minor son lived in his household, which made him eligible under federal guidelines for TennCare benefits.
“It’s a simple message that we are carrying across the state - if you lie, cheat or steal to get TennCare benefits, you risk going to jail or prison,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “People who commit TennCare fraud are taking something they’re not entitled to, and it’s a serious crime.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Theft of services over $1,000 but less than $10,000 is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison. 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."