Authorities have charged yet another out-of-state resident with TennCare fraud, and this time the alleged culprit is from North Carolina.
According to a press release, officials with the Tennessee Office of Inspector General this week announced the arrest of Julie Carpenter of Mitchell County, North Carolina.
The arrest is the result of a joint effort with the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office of North Carolina. Authorities transported her to the sheriff’s office of Johnson County, Tenn. where they have her housed, according to a press release.
Carpenter is charged with one count of obtaining benefits through TennCare despite not qualifying for the program and one count of theft of services over $10,000, the press release went on to say.
“Investigators say Carpenter reported that she had custody of her son when in fact the paternal grandparents of the child had court-ordered custody elsewhere,” according to the press release.
“Additionally, it was discovered that Ms. Carpenter was not a resident of Tennessee and was in fact residing in Mitchell County, North Carolina. Carpenter continued to report this status to TennCare over a period of approximately a year and a half. Had Carpenter properly reported her household composition or out of state residency, she would have immediately been disqualified from TennCare.”
If convicted, Ms. Carpenter could face penalties of up to a maximum of 24 years in prison for the charges of TennCare fraud and theft of services under $10,000, both of which are Class D felonies. The case is being prosecuted by Baldwin of Johnson City, Tenn., the press release said.
As The Tennessee Star reported last week, TennCare officials announced the arrest of an Arkansas woman, also on TennCare fraud charges.
According to a state press release, authorities say this Arkansan, Karen Wilson-Hicks, 52, moved from Tennessee but she knowingly did not report her new address. She allegedly did this to remain enrolled in the state healthcare insurance program.
Tennessee residency is an essential requirement for TennCare eligibility.
As reported, a Mississippi woman allegedly committed more than $250,000 worth of TennCare fraud, and she must pay that money back.
As The Star reported in July, authorities were investigating 16 people in Georgia for receiving benefits from Tennessee’s Medicaid program.
Those 16 Georgians likely couldn’t get health care coverage in their home state.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Woman in Handcuffs” by Ohio Department of Transportation. CC BY 2.0.