Shelby, Tipton, and Morgan County Residents Charged with TennCare Fraud

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Tennessee officials this week announced additional arrests for TennCare fraud, this time from Shelby, Tipton, and Morgan counties.

Authorities charged Shelby County resident Kristine Boling with TennCare fraud and theft of property in connection with fraudulently enrolling in the state’s healthcare insurance program.

“She is accused of falsely reporting that she had custody of her three children in order to appear eligible for TennCare, although investigators say that was false,” according to an OIG press release.

If convicted of both charges, Boling could face a maximum of 24 years in prison, both of which are class D felonies. District Attorney General Amy T. Weirich of Memphis is prosecuting the case, the press release said.

According to another press release, authorities charged a Tipton County man, Michael Champagne, with TennCare fraud and theft of services in connection with unlawfully obtaining benefits through the state’s healthcare insurance program.

Champagne is charged with one count of obtaining benefits through TennCare despite not qualifying for the state health insurance program, and one count of theft of services over $10,000, the press release said.

“Champagne is accused of knowingly reporting an incorrect household income in order to obtain TennCare benefits for himself and his two children,” according to the press release.

“As a result, TennCare paid $12,758.32 on behalf of Champagne and his children. Had Champagne properly reported his correct household income, he would not qualify for TennCare.”

If convicted, Champagne could face penalties of up to a maximum of 27 years in prison for all charges. District Attorney Mark Davidson is prosecuting.

Authorities have also charged a Morgan County man, Michael L. Phillips, with TennCare fraud in an indictment accusing him of selling prescription painkillers paid for with TennCare benefits.

Phillips, of Wartburg, allegedly used TennCare and Medicare to obtain a prescription for 120 oxycodone tablets, then sold a portion of the prescription on the same day, according to a press release.

If convicted, Phillips could face penalties of up to 12 years in prison for TennCare fraud, which is a Class D felony. District Attorney General Russell Johnson is prosecuting, the press release said.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated over 5,760 criminal cases leading to more than $10.8 million ordered in restitution to TennCare.  This has helped lead to a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to the latest figures. To date, 3,127 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 or by logging on to www.tn.gov/oig/ and following the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

 

 

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