Four Sentenced on TennCare Fraud Convictions
NASHVILLE, TN – Four people convicted of TennCare fraud have been sentenced in Marshall, Hamblen, Davidson and Shelby Counties. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the sentencing of people previously charged in TennCare fraud cases:
- Marshall County: Gena Leigh Garton, 33, of Chapel Hill, pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud and theft of services. She received a four-year judicial diversion and was ordered to pay restitution to TennCare in the amount of $3,033. Garton was arrested December 2013 and charged with failing to disclose her employment income to the state, which would have made her ineligible for TennCare benefits. District Attorney General Robert Carter prosecuted the case.
- Hamblen County: Brandon Trent, 25, of Rogersville, pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud and was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended to one year of probation. He was ordered to pay $762.59 in restitution and $100 in fines. Trent was arrested in October of last year, when he was charged with “doctor shopping” for drugs, using TennCare as payment. District Attorney General C. Berkley Bell prosecuted the case.
- Davidson County: Griselda Castaneda-Camacho, 29, of Nashville, pleaded guilty to four counts of TennCare fraud and received one year of supervised probation under judicial diversion. Castaneda-Camacho was also ordered to pay $764.33 in restitution. She was arrested in August of 2013 and charged with four counts of fraudulently “doctor shopping” for controlled substances, using TennCare as payment. District Attorney General Victor S. Johnson, III, prosecuted the case.
- Shelby County: Tamara Spears, 40, of Walls, Mississippi, pleaded guilty to theft of property and received four years of supervised probation under judicial diversion. Spears was ordered to pay $28,782.63 in restitution, with $5,000 of it to be paid within 15 days. She was arrested in March of this year, when she was charged with obtaining medical services through TennCare by intentionally misrepresenting that she and her family resided in Tennessee, when they actually lived in Mississippi. District Attorney General Amy P. Weirich prosecuted this case.
"Part of our continuing mission is to help preserve the integrity of the TennCare program," Acting Inspector General Robert White said. "We will attempt to do so by vigorously prosecuting anyone who uses or attempts to use the program for illegitimate purposes."
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, 2,122 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."