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."




New Hiener Book Of Historic Chattanooga Photos Available At Zarzours

The new Paul Hiener Historic Chattanooga Photos book published by Chattanoogan.com is available at Zarzours Restaurant. Zarzours is located on the Southside on Rossville Avenue behind the Main Street Fire Hall #1. Mr. Hiener, a longtime Chattanooga printer and lifelong resident, collected over 3,000 historic pictures of his beloved hometown. He made some of the photos ... (click for more)

Police Blotter: Tire Thieves Hit Rossville Boulevard Business

Police said tire thieves hit a Rossville Boulevard business in an overnight raid. At 4300 Rossville Blvd., someone stole brand-new tires off five racks. There were 10 or more tires on each rack. The total loss may be over 50 new tires. The thieves apparently threw the tires over a fence after getting inside. * * * At Belk's at Hamilton Place, a loss prevention ... (click for more)

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents - And Response

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Cost Of No Discipline

At the start of the current school year, state education officials gathered at some “state testing task force” when disciplinary records from across Tennessee happened to be revealed. You probably are unaware of this, as it seems to have been kept on the “down low,” but statewide a full 20 percent of the black males in our public schools were suspended at least once during the 2014-2015 ... (click for more)

Top-Ranked Bradley Uses Fast Start To Beat Baylor

There’s no question that the Bradley Bears are ranked first in the initial state wrestling poll and they proved they deserve to be in that top spot following a 43-30 victory over the Baylor Red Raiders. Baylor is ranked fourth in that first poll and will surely be a force to be reckoned with in Division II as the season progresses, but the Bears are head and shoulders ahead after ... (click for more)

Run-And-Gun Tyner Shoots Down Red Bank 71-33

Tyner opponents better batten down the hatches if the Rams ever iron out their half-court offensive struggles. Even without that weapon showing up Tuesday night, the Rams showed they have a run-and-gun assault that can bury an opponent under an avalanche of points. And their defense is as tenacious as ever. Tyner outscored Red Bank 15-0 to start the second quarter ... (click for more)