After being on the run for two years, a Georgia woman is in custody on TennCare fraud charges, in an indictment accusing her of claiming to live in Tennessee in order to get healthcare insurance benefits through TennCare, the state’s public insurance program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 26-year old Lacey Rogers of Tunnel Hill, Ga., which is about 30 miles from the Tennessee border at Chattanooga.
She was arrested in Georgia on a fugitive warrant stemming from an indictment issued in Bradley County and charged with one count of theft of services over $1,000.
Ms. Rogers was indicted in September of 2009 in Bradley County for obtaining healthcare insurance benefits through TennCare, even though she wasn’t eligible. The indictment says that between November of 2004 and August of this year, she obtained medical services through TennCare by intentionally misrepresenting that the family resided in Tennessee when they actually lived in Georgia. The arrest was coordinated with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Tunnel Hill Police Department and the Whitfield County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office.
“When people cross state lines to enroll in TennCare, they are taking services away from Tennesseans who may need health care insurance,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “If anyone hears about someone crossing state lines to enroll in TennCare, we need to know about it.”
Theft of services under $10,000 is a Class D felony that carries a maximum of four years in prison. District Attorney General R. Steven Bebb will prosecute.
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, nearly 1,500 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."