Alabama Woman Charged with TennCare, Food Stamp Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An Alabama woman is charged with TennCare fraud and food stamp fraud for falsely reporting her residency in order to obtain benefits from both taxpayer-funded programs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of police in Bridgeport, Alabama today announced the arrest of Keily Phillips, 39, of Bridgeport.
A Marion County indictment charges Phillips with TennCare fraud, theft of services, perjury and food stamp fraud. Charges say Phillips obtained medical assistance benefits and food stamp assistance by fraudulently reporting her residency, family composition and marital income to the state so that she appeared to be eligible for both TennCare and SNAP food stamps.
“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 Manny Tyndall said. “People who commit TennCare fraud are taking something they’re not entitled to from a program funded by taxpayers.”
Both TennCare fraud and food stamp fraud are Class E felonies, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Theft of services over $10,000 is a Class C felony punishable by three to six years in prison. District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $5 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $176 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,196 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."