Hamilton County Woman Charged With TennCare Fraud, ID Theft

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Hamilton County woman is charged with TennCare fraud and identity theft for obtaining medical treatment and using a TennCare member’s benefits to pay for them.

The Office of Inspector General announced the arrest of Deborah Faye Ellis, also known as Deborah Hanes, Deborah F. Lee, and Deborah Faye Lee, 58, of Chattanooga.  Ms. Ellis was being held at the Lee Arrendale State Prison in Georgia, and has been transported to Hamilton County, where she was served with the indictment.

A Hamilton County Grand Jury charged Ms. Ellis with three counts of TennCare fraud and three counts of identity theft.  She is accused of assuming the identity of a TennCare recipient in order to illegally obtain medical treatment on three separate occasions.

“Our mission is to protect the state’s Medicaid program from people trying to obtain benefits they’re not eligible to receive,” Acting Inspector General Robert White said. “We are committed to preserving TennCare for people who qualify for these important healthcare insurance benefits.”

Identity theft is a Class D felony that carries a maximum of four years in prison per charge.  Fraudulently obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General William H. Cox, III, 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, 2,151 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."




Thanksgiving Travel Forecast: Storm May Slow Early Travel As 46 Million Take To Roads

AccuWeather reports cold air will be less intense and much less widespread across the nation during the week of Thanksgiving, but there will still be a few travel trouble spots including areas of winterlike conditions and rain-related issues. In a press release by the American Automobile Association (AAA), an estimated 46.3 million people will travel 50 miles or more ... (click for more)

Fire Damages Duplex In Red Bank On Thursday

A duplex in Red Bank was damaged by fire on Thursday afternoon. At  1:10 p.m. , a 911 call was received reporting a duplex fire at 219 Clift View Drive. Red Bank firefighters responded and arrived, reporting fire pouring out the living room windows on the "A" side of the duplex. Firefighters entered the residents and quickly contained the fire to the living room area. ... (click for more)

Always Read The Fine Print - And Response

So, Chief Dodd retired before 25 years of service and is angry that he's being charged a 5 percent fee for surviving spouse benefits, even though that change was enacted prior to his retiring? Well, welcome to the real world, Mr. Dodd. Always read the fine print. City employees were also once able to carry their health insurance with them if they retired earlier than 25 years, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Pre-Thanksgiving Nudge

This time next week it will be Thanksgiving and, as I was browsing on the Internet yesterday, I was absently searching for something to catch the holiday mood when I found it. In 1978 Ronald Reagan was running hard to become the President of the United States, which he became in 1981-89, and, as fate would have it, suddenly it came that time during the week when he would record ... (click for more)

Tennessee Reserves Will Play Key Roles Against Missouri

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee coach Butch Jones and his staff preach that every member of the Vols should practice as if they were a starter. On Saturday that mantra will benefit Tennessee. Several Vols are expected to see increased roles when the Vols take on 19 th -ranked Missouri at Neyland Stadium. Here's a look at how three Vols are progressing in their increased roles ... (click for more)

Lee Women Win NCCAA Mid-East Region Soccer Title

The Lee women's soccer team laid claim to the NCCAA Mid-East Region title for the second straight year as they defeated Campbellsville University, 4-0 on a bitterly cold Wednesday night at the Lee Soccer Field. With temperatures dropping into the thirties the Lady Flames heated things up on the field jumping out to an early lead on a goal by senior forward Kathryn Healy ... (click for more)