Tennessee officials announced Monday they indicted five Alabama residents on charges of passing themselves off as Tennessee residents so they could qualify for TennCare.
No one who lives out-of-state may legally qualify for these benefits.
All five people fraudulently reported to Tennessee officials that they and their minor children were state residents so they could qualify for TennCare, according to a press release from the Tennessee Office of Inspector General.
Authorities charged the five people, all from Bridgeport, Ala., with TennCare fraud and theft of services:
District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor is prosecuting, according to an OIG press release.
These five arrests bring the total number of people arrested for TennCare fraud to 3,100 since the OIG began investigating and pursuing this type criminal activity, according to a press release.
Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration spokeswoman Lola Potter told The Tennessee Star Monday the number of TennCare fraud arrests is on the decline.
According to Potter’s information, Tennessee had the following number of TennCare fraud arrests the previous four years:
• 249 arrests in 2015.
• 286 arrests in 2016.
• 198 arrests in 2017.
• 137 arrests in 2018.
“The OIG says the decrease is probably attributed to the decline in prescription drug diversion cases by TennCare recipients, and an increase in eligibility cases which are more complex,” Potter told The Star in an email.
Potter did not elaborate further.
“The OIG does not have any estimates or other information on people who have committed TennCare fraud but aren’t on our radar,” Potter said.
TennCare fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison per charge.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures.
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