Nashville, TN – A Davidson County woman is charged with TennCare fraud and theft of services for allegedly reporting a false Tennessee residence in order to receive TennCare healthcare insurance benefits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) in a joint effort with Metro Nashville Police announced that 59-year-old Virginia Watson has been charged with TennCare fraud and theft of services under $10,000, both of which are class D felonies.
Watson is accused of falsely reporting a Tennessee address when she actually resided in Alabama, which disqualified her for TennCare enrollment. After the period in which the alleged fraud occurred, she moved to the Nashville area.
“The TennCare program is designed to provide benefits for the residents of Tennessee who rightfully qualify,” Inspector Kim Harmon said. “The Office of Inspector General has demonstrated a proven commitment through our diligent investigation process to ensure that our taxpayer’s money is being used properly.”
If convicted, Watson could face penalties of up to a maximum of 24 years in prison for both Class D felonies. The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney Glenn R. Funk of Davidson County.
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, 3,133 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.”