Wednesday, August 23, 2017 | 3:47pm
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Five people, including residents of Arkansas and Alabama, have been ordered to make restitution to TennCare after they were each charged separately with TennCare fraud.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the plea agreements, which include repayment of $147,000 to TennCare for healthcare insurance payments made on their behalf.
- Keily Phillips, of Bridgeport, Alabama received four years’ probation in Marion County and was ordered to repay TennCare $48,340.80 and was ordered to repay the food stamp program a total of $12,015.00. She was arrested in October of 2014 and again in October 2015 stemming from charges she falsely reported her residency, family composition and marital income in order to render herself eligible for TennCare and the SNAP food stamp program. District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor prosecuted both cases.
- Jann Cooke, of Jonesboro, Arkansas received 11 months 29 days supervised probation and is ordered to repay the state $19,952.37. She was also ordered to remain in supervision until the full amount is repaid. Cooke was charged in January of this year with claiming her family lived in Tennessee – when they actually resided in Arkansas – in order to receive TennCare benefits. At the time of arrest, Cooke was living in Gulf Breeze, Florida. With the assistance of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Cook was extradited back to Tennessee. District Attorney General Amy T. Weirich prosecuted this case.
- In Marshall County, Patricia Lindsay of Chapel Hill received six years judicial diversion and was ordered to repay a total of $37,070.96. She was charged in May of this year with failing to disclose her income to the state in order to illegally obtain TennCare benefits. District Attorney General Robert Carter prosecuted this case.
- Carla A. Gonzalez of Clarksville received two years judicial diversion and was ordered to repay the state a total of $12,273.00. She was charged in October of 2016 with obtaining TennCare healthcare insurance by claiming a minor child as a dependent; otherwise, she would not have been eligible for TennCare. District Attorney General John W. Carney prosecuted this case.
- Tasha Isaac of Chattanooga received six years state probation and is ordered to repay the state $18,000. She was charged in July of last year with not fully reporting her income to the state in order to obtain TennCare benefits. The judge also ordered supervised state probation until restitution is paid in full, a special condition. District Attorney General Neal Pinkston prosecuted this case.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,889 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 visit the website and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”